Ladies, am I right??
Okay, you dirty birds, Mrs. Mimi is talking about CLASS size not…well…sizes of other things. Ahem. Yes, class size. We’ll just go with that, shall we?
So word on the street is that Secretary I’ve-Never-Taught-Before-And-Therefore-Don’t-Know-My-Class-Size-From-My-Elbow Duncan is suggesting that schools make some “hard choices” in these “difficult economic times.” I guess he’s just realizing that tax dollars don’t grow on trees and OF COURSE when you need to cut back on something, education is the first place you should look. I mean, duh! It’s only our future generation, right?
Basically, The Dunks thinks that rather than cut art and music or other things that “directly impact the classroom,” schools should opt to make “targeted increases” in class size. (You guys, he even said that he would be willing to send his hypothetical children to a class of 26 children if there was an excellent teacher in place…I mean, if that’s not an endorsement…) A few problems with his line of thinking:
(My soapbox, please!)
1. Um, Mr. Duncan? Mr. Secretary of EDUCATION? When was the last time you were actually IN a classroom? Because, guess what? No, go ahead. Guess. No ideas? Well, my friend, it’s just that many schools ALREADY have class sizes of 25 and 26. Are you imagining the jump to 30 students as being no big deal? That means a teacher gets to spend less than 15 minutes with each child.
2. What makes Duncan think that increasing class size is a decision that has no direct impact on the classroom? I can’t think of many other things that have a BIGGER impact on the classroom. Um, logic much?
3. Oh, and I guess being a Power That Be means possessing the magical ability to ignore massive amounts of data supporting small class size. Are book burnings back in style? Is data burning all the rage?
The Dunks also goes on to say that school districts should rethink pay scales that give teachers additional pay for advanced degrees. Instead, he suggests that the most effective teachers should be paid between $80,000 and $125,000 a year. Now. Not that I don’t agree that the Rock Stars of Education should be paid some serious Benjamins, HOWEVER, where is this imaginary money going to come from if we have to make “tough decisions” such as increasing class size because we are in tough economic times. Again, my friend, you are not making the sense. But I guess when you are in charge, you don’t have to.
Note: Due to lack of sleep and the reality that I can’t put enormous amounts of bullsh*t out into the universe and just expect people to swallow it like some people I know, my fingers are crossed that this post is coherent.