It seems that measuring a schools performance has taken precedence over student performance though one is supposed to be dependent on the other.
In New York State there are 733 Districts, 4,469 Public Schools, 301 Charter Schools and 207,379 teachers providing and education to 2,640,250 students. That is an average of thirteen students per teacher. Yet, the average classroom size is approximately twenty-five students per teacher.
Class Size Matters has been fighting for years to lower the number of students in New York classes. It reports, “NYC Class Size data released; . . . average class sizes still increasing according to DOE K-3 students in classes of 30 or more . . .”
Where does the discrepancy occur? Special education.
Students who have been classified are placed in 6:1:1, 8:1:1 and 12:1:1 classes which means six, eight, and twelve students to one teacher.
This is important since many students in overcrowded classrooms do not receive the help they need to succeed. As well, students who struggle to maintain good grades are neglected due to the teachers concentration on disciplinary measures, lack of time for instruction, and inadequate resources.
As more students are classified, more general education students are crowded into classrooms that are already overcrowded. Discipline becomes a problem and students are classified for their behavior not their learning capabilities.
Students who are classified do not test well and schools with a high number of classified students fail to reach state standards and are closed. Students from failed schools are placed in successful schools overcrowding their classrooms. The overcrowding of their classrooms soon cause the successful schools to fail.
School choice, charter schools, and private school vouchers are measures that are offered to solve the problem but have proven to be nothing more than a band aid on a gaping wound.
When we provide every child a free and public education that is developmentally appropriate, Arts based and experiential, one that concentrates on discovering, developing, and directing the individual gifts and talents that all children possess, we will be able to lower class sizes and end the cycle of failure that continues to profit the “hedgehogs” who created it.
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