Keep Class Sizes Small

To The Editor:

Jugglers amaze us with their ability to actually manipulate objects. Magicians, also known as illusionists, confound us with their ability to fool us… and so do unscrupulous individuals when they manipulate statistics to pull the wool over our eyes!

Small class sizes are universally known to be one of the main selling points of any educational institution. Why? Simple logic tells us the instructor can give more individual attention to each of the students if there is less of them in a classroom.

Smaller classes are expensive. If more students are taught per teacher for the same amount of salary, the school system is saving money. If each teacher has an average class size of 30 pupils as opposed to 23, then a great deal of money is saved – at the expense of each child getting more individual attention!

As far as looking at this through a thick wool sweater, we must ask ourselves, how is average class size determined?

Elementary arithmetic provides us with an easy, but very superficial answer: divide the total number of students in the school by the total number of classroom teachers on the faculty of the school. Simple right? NO! It is not so simple if you go inside the school and you find out that there are many classroom teachers with reduced classroom programs because they are recruited to do administrative jobs: attendance, discipline, lunchroom and hall patrols, lab preps, trip coordinator, etc.

So if you look inside all of the classrooms where teaching and learning is going on, the real actual class size will be much higher than the fake “average class size.” Without a doubt, more students per class equals less individual attention a teacher can give to each child!

Dave Shlakman,
Howard Beach