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Class-Size Reduction: Better Than You Think

Class-Size Reduction: Better Than You Think | school improvement process | Scoop.it

"While a series of high-profile and often controversial school reforms has gotten the lion’s share of attention from policymakers over the last decade or two, one reform appears to have been consistently ignored and marginalized: reducing the size of classes. Yet, as Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach points out in a new policy brief released today, the evidence that class size reduction helps raise student achievement is strong. According to Professor Schanzenbach, class-size reduction has been the victim of a popular misconception that the strategy has been largely unsuccessful. One recent example, Schanzenbach notes, is the writer Malcolm Gladwell, who in a recent book describes small class sizes as a 'thing we are convinced is such a big advantage [but] might not be such an advantage at all.' In fact, she writes, the real story is just the opposite. 'Class size matters,' writes Schanzenbach, an economist and education policy professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. 'Research supports the common-sense notion that children learn more and teachers are more effective in smaller classes.' Citing evidence from the academic literature, Schanzenbach explains that 'class size is an important determinant of a variety of student outcomes ranging from test scores to broader life outcomes. Smaller classes are particularly effective at raising achievement levels of low-income and minority children.' Conversely, she points out, raising class size can be shown to be harmful to children. 'Money saved today by increasing class sizes will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the future,' she writes. 'Policymakers should carefully weigh the efficacy of class-size policy against other potential uses of funds,' Schanzenbach concludes. 'While lower class size has a demonstrable cost, it may prove the more cost-effective policy overall.'" | via National Education Policy Center

 


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Is School Reform Making America Less Competitive?

Is School Reform Making America Less Competitive? | school improvement process | Scoop.it

"Many school reformers say that their efforts are aimed at helping to improve schools so Americans can be competitive in the 21st Century economy. Here's an argument saying that school reform is doing exactly the opposite. The standard line of the current education reform movement goes as follows: We have broken schools that are producing underachieving students, causing U.S. students to lose ground to young people in other industrialized nations, thereby rendering America less competitive. In reality, we have more than one problem in education, and, in trying to repair one, we are exacerbating another. In so doing, we are unwittingly making the United States less, not more, competitive." | by David Bernstein


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America’s Attitudes Towards Education Reform

America’s Attitudes Towards Education Reform | school improvement process | Scoop.it

"A plurality of Americans says that parents should have more power over their child’s education, including access to information and data about their child’s school. The real battle over education policy is at the state legislative level. Most outrage about education policy (for instance, from conservatives) focuses on the very existence of the Department of Education, and federal policies like Common Core. However, most adults know that the state and local governments have far more responsibility, and they disapprove of the job their state legislature is doing on education. Washington may be the perennial punching bag on education, but for solutions, reformers should focus their attention on the statehouses." | via The Center for Education Reform


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The Principals' Letter: ‘School Reform’ Is A Misnomer

The Principals' Letter: ‘School Reform’ Is A Misnomer | school improvement process | Scoop.it

"Carol Burris is the award-winning principal of South Side High School in New York who has been at the forefront of opposition to New York State’s new teacher evaluation system. Named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State, Burris is one of the co-authors of the principals’ letter against evaluating teachers by student test scores, which has been signed by 1,535 New York principals. Here are excerpts from the keynote address that Burris delivered last week to the New York Performance Standards Consortium." | via Valerie Strauss


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