2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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Smaller class sizes no panacea? No kidding.

A Columbia University Teachers College researcher argues that a review of the class-size literature shows that shrinking class size by itself does not improve learning or perform miracles. How do you spell straw horse?

In his study, Douglas Ready concludes that the success of class-size-reduction strategies depends largely on the context in which they are set, though he found evidence that students from poor families and pupils who are members of low-income minority groups are likelier to benefit from smaller classes than their better-off peers. Ready says references in “class size debates to a ‘unitary class size effect’ ignore the absence of a unitary class size treatment.” In other words, other ameliorative policies are needed, too.

What works? “Much deeper transformations than class-size reduction alone can provide,” says Ready.

So, just as the UFT argues, what also matters are better-trained, better-remunerated teachers, a collegial and cooperative working environment, ample and adequate supplies, modern equipment, a safe school environment, parental involvement and schools that are not at overcapacity — the things the UFT consistently pushes for along with smaller class sizes.

The article "Smaller class sizes no panacea? No kidding" was published on April 24th in "New York Teacher" website:
http://www.uft.org/news/teacher/briefs/no_panacea_no_kidding/


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