...[A]s many states and school districts have rushed to reduce class sizes, usually to the low 20s, student achievement has not consistently improved markedly.
In California, a 1996 law provided schools with an extra $1,000 in state money for every student in the earliest grades whose classes had 20 or fewer students. The state quickly hired 28,000 new teachers, but many of them lacked experience or education credentials; a 2002 study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that the best-qualified teachers fled poorer urban schools as the extra funds created jobs in wealthier areas, and that children who were in smaller third-grade classes did not have higher scores on fifth-grade tests.
In New York City, an Education Department comparison over the last two years between school report-card grades and average class size has found little correlation; in many cases, schools with better grades have bigger classes....
Sunday, March 1, 2009
A letter to the editor in today's New York Times (March 1), cites large K-12 classes during World War II as evidence that children can thrive under such conditions. The letter-writer is responding to a Feb. 22 article in the Times, which said: