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Class-Size Tradeoffs

Renee Moore questions the wisdom of the the idea—raised in recent days by both Bill Gates and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—of paying effective teachers more for taking on larger class sizes:

Giving the most effective teachers larger classes is NOT a way to reward them, but it is a way to lessen their effectiveness. It also begs the question: What kind of teachers will be working with the students that can't be crammed into the overcrowded classes of the "effective teachers"?

A blogging middle school principal, meanwhile, picks up on the budgetary implications of Duncan's comment that he'd rather have his children in a large class with an excellent teacher than in a smaller class with an average teacher.

The question, it seems, is when do you get to the point of diminishing returns.

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