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Comments about ‘Call for smaller classes stalls for lack of funding’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 7:59 p.m. MST

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Seek to understand
Sandy, UT

Many, many studies have shown class size at this level (22 to 20, 25 to 22) is not a determinant of academic achievement. It's probably a good thing Utah doesn't have the money to make this happen, since it would be VERY expensive and would most likely not result in better academic achievement for our students.

Whew. Let's keep thinking of solutions - this isn't one.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

I taught first grade for five years. My class size varied from 20 to 26. It was no more difficult to have 26 in the class, if the students were reasonable in behavior (active, talkative, but responsive to positive reinforcement). If I had one student with serious behavior problems, it wasn't helpful to have fewer students. When there is one student, or more with significant issues, that is what has to be resolved. Certainly, there is a little more time for individual attention with fewer students, but with proper management that really isn't an issue. I did not have an assistant in the class. Many years later, I worked in elementary age classrooms in another state (from Utah) and had more students with notable behavior problems. That was a far bigger dilemma than having more students in a classroom, where there were often assistants, who couldn't deal with the errant behavior either. Bottom line, children who don't settle into the classroom need help, and most likely in another setting than school.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

At some point in time, the legislature is going to have to fund their desires. It has been five years since education was funded somewhat adequately. It is understandable that they are trying to balance the budget and the economy has taken a hit. Because of that, they should not be placing any more burdens or demands on schools until they are in a position to fund them adequately. In many ways the state government behaves like the federal government in that they both have been issuing unfunded mandates in droves. It is time for the state legislature to quit messing around with public education so much. They pass over 100 laws per year making endless and often times contradictory changes. Teachers must be going absolutely insane with all this madness.

worf
Mcallen, TX

It would be beneficial to:

* lessen teacher paper work
* provide more teacher aids
* free up time for teachers by eliminating standardized testing with all its trimmings.
* renew some teaching methods used during the 1930/40/50/60's.
* simplify operations, and focus on teaching.
* place more trust in teachers with less micro-managing

FT
salt lake city, UT

The Utah legislature and the people who keep them in power are hypocrites. They talk about the importance of family and children but it's all lip service. Utahns want to have big families but they don't want to take responsibilty for paying for them. Reduce the amount of deductions a family can take too two. If want our children and our country to prosper we need to start to hold our citizens responsible for their actions.

jrgl
CEDAR CITY, UT

I have to disagree with the first two posters. As a teacher there is a limit to class size & effectiveness. Sadly, many of the new schools aren't equipped with big enough classrooms to cram full of students. I teach secondary, where the schools routinely place 42+ students in my classroom and many times forget there aren't enough desks for each student! I also have mainstreamed special ed students (roughly 8+ per class) that I am supposed to give one on one attention to & exceptionally smart students that need special assignments. Every year they squeeze a few more into my classrooms & I do my best but there is a breaking point when too many students is just too many students. Class gets disruptive & I wear a microphone! Paraprofessional Aides have been cut in recent years (but not the pay or numbers of the administrators). Utah - Stack 'em deep & teach 'em cheap!

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

I understand that class size limits are the fad du jour, but studies have repeatedly shown that class size does not correlate at all with educational outcomes. Kids that want to learn will learn regardless of how big their class is, and kids that don't want to learn won't learn regardless of how small their class is. Money should be spent on parents so they can understand why they are so important to the educational process of their children, not classroom size.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

How about we cut administrative staff and non-essential staff at the schools. 30 years ago elementary schools had a principal and a secretary to run the school. Now, there is the Principal, and 3 other people running the school. Get rid of the 2 extras.

Next, get rid of the computer lab instructor. Have them teach a normal class.

Ok, right there I just aded up to 3 teacher per elementary school.

Next, go to the district. Anybody with a job title "specialist" that is not directly writing checks or head of the district should be eliminated or else sent back to a school to teach the kids. In other words, reduce district staff to 1980's levels.

Right now we average 60% of the our tax dollars making it to classroom instruction, lets push that up to 75% or more.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

“Public schools, unlike charter and private schools, are not able to turn away students once capacity is reached, and the number of students attending Utah's public schools surpassed 60,000 for the first time in 2012.”
This is a significant impact as parents find out in October that they either can’t afford the alternative school, their students aren’t able to adjust or other reasons, and then return to the real public school system. However, the money allotted for that student is not available to the public school system. This happens more than is advertised.
“The bill would provide no additional funds to schools, but schools that fail to comply would potentially lose out on money they've relied on for the past 20 years to keep class sizes as low as they currently are.”
I see that this would have depleted more dollars than benefitted any school district.

How would this have benefitted charter and private schools if it was passed?

The Governor and his Lieutenant Governor have been out saying how much they support public education. The legislature acted the opposite, it appears, as they acted for vouchers. Common sense worked?

1conservative
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Enforcement of laws related to illegal immigration would reduce class sizes.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Brave Sir Robin,

Please review your comment that "class size does not correlate at all with educational outcomes."

If that is true then there is no upper limit. A class of 4, 40 or 400 are all equally good. No.

This is like a ton of other things. There is a range - a sweet spot (or area). A bit above or a bit below and you don't notice much difference. But there comes a breaking point.

Obviously some of this has to do with the capacity of the teacher. But there isn't a teacher on the planet that can handle 50 or 60 young kids and give them the kind of attention they need.

Fred44
Salt Lake City, Utah

I will agree with Sir Robin to a point. Give me 100 kids whose parents support education hold their students accountable and spend time with their children making sure homework gets done and I will produce great classroom results. Give me 10 kids whose parents don't care, whose parents don't hold their children accountable and I will struggle to produce results.

Class size is important because I have never had a class full of kids with great parents. Students today are less engaged in learning as a group than they were 30 years ago, thus trying to motivate them, discipline them and then if there is any time left teach them is increasingly difficult especially in a large class.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Brave Sir Robin- studies (research) are often distorted, or made up to bring a desired outcome.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Common sense indicates that class size would matter. Trust your teachers, I think they would tell you that 40 students is harder than 30 and I just read an article about classes at Logan HS with 50 plus students. That's insane. Even if they are AP students. The secondary teacher doesn't have some undergrad toadie he can pawn off reading his essays for him.

I mean I hear people in my LDS ward complain they have 12 kids in their Sunday school classes. Well, times that 3 to 4 and you would know what a public school teacher in Utah faces, not just once a week for 50 minutes but day in and day out several periods a day.

I agree with a lot of what worf said (sometimes he makes some good points). I also agree that some of these specialists need to go back teaching either full-time or at least part time to help ease loads. Heck, even the superintendent and principal(s) could get back in the classroom for a period or two a day and help out. Utah schools are in some senses in educational crisis and it's time for all hands on deck.

worf
Mcallen, TX

"Heck, even the superintendent and principal(s) could get back in the classroom for a period or two a day and help out".

Way to go Howard!

I know of a district in Minnesota with no principals. Teachers rotate that responsibility, and the superintendent works part time.

With proper modifications, education would be much more efficient with smaller class sizes, and higher pay for teachers.

rubytulip
Sandy, UT

Class size does not matter? I spent my last years as a high school teacher with 45+ students in English classes. Oh, so sad, too bad--we don't have extra desks to give you. Latecomers sat on the floor and many students just quit coming (would YOU like to spend 80 minutes on a hard floor?) No way could I call my job teaching at that point--it was crowd control. Give the schools enough money to make a real difference to students' educations. Send each legislator to a school for a WEEK of exploding classes and students and THEN let them talk about that which they know nothing of.

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