Fudging on small-class law

By state law, Florida schools must cut class sizes, but schools have found ways to get around the law, reports the Miami Herald.

Many school districts have the money to hire teachers but can’t afford to build classrooms. So administrators have taken advantage of loopholes in the state formula, which does not actually measure class size, but rather the ratio of students to teachers in each classroom. Here is what they are doing:

— Mainstreaming special-education students, which has the ancillary benefit of reducing class size, at least on paper. If the special-education teacher is counted as a second teacher, the student/teacher ratio is cut in half.

— Having a specialist — such as a reading teacher — visit a classroom for one period, which reduces the student/teacher ratio for that period, and thus for the day. Since class-size data are collected on a specific day each week, schools can reduce their reported ratio by scheduling specialists in large classes on that day.

— Pulling students out of class for tutoring, speech therapy or other special help on the day of the count.

— Putting two classes in one room, with two teachers, who can “team-teach.”

At Hallandale Elementary for example, the state of Florida says teacher Danielle Eberly’s class has 18 first-graders.

But when Eberly is standing before her class, she’s speaking to 36 children, not 18. As Eberly teaches, her co-teacher, LoriAyne Stickler, might be doing paperwork, or walking around the room to make sure her youngsters understand the lesson. Then the two reverse roles.

Research shows small classes benefit students in kindergarten and first grade; after that, the evidence is murky. The two-teacher model described in the story has a lot in common with staffing classrooms with a teacher and an aide; there’s no evidence that aides improve student performance, though they make the teacher’s job less stressful.

About Joanne


  1. Eye think this is a good weigh
    of doing this. ALL classrooms
    due not kneed two bee as small
    as the law dick-tates. Some
    teachers can handle the larger
    classes one year, butt knot the
    next. It’s a variable phenom–
    (sorry, I for got how two spell
    that word.)
    Sum times it takes a visit for
    an our from an aide too help
    control, or manage a problem.
    Dick-tating that ALL classes
    should meat this criteria is
    costly, and we should remember
    that won size does knot fit ALL.

    Thank yew.

  2. And yet, this absudity notwithstanding, it’s a still a close call as to whether this is really the single stupidest thing in the Florida Constitution. There really are several other pretty good contenders.

  3. Your math homework for this weekend is to draw a graph that shows how a school budget varies when you change the student/teacher ratio or class size. You can use the information provided by NCES that says that the average cost per student is $7,734 and that $4,755 goes for instruction. Also, NCES states that the average student/teacher ratio is about 15 to 1 and the class size is about 22. State any assumptions you make (e.g. that the graph is continuous) and answer the following questions.

    1. Is the graph linear or non-linear?
    2. Please write down the algebraic equation for this curve.
    3. What is the percent increase in budget when the class size or student/teacher ratio is reduced from 25 to 20?
    4. What is the percent increase in budget when the class size or student/teacher ratio is reduced from 25 to 15?
    5.Draw what you think the graph of student test performance versus class size would look like and explain your reasoning.
    6. Do you think this test performance graph would vary in shape depending on whether the school uses direct teacher instruction or child-centered discovery learning where the teacher is a “guide on the side”? Describe the difference in shape and justify your answer. Are there any other factors that might affect the shape of this curve? What are they?
    7. Looking at the budget differences noted in 3 and 4 above, can you suggest other uses of an increased budget that might have greater impact on test performances?
    8. Do you think that there are ways to increase student test performance without spending more money? Describe these changes.


  1. Payday Loan says:

    Payday Loan

    Nice website!