Is Class-Size Reduction Holding Schools Back?
In a Washington Post op-ed this morning, Eva Moskowitz, the founder and chief executive of the Success Charter Network, argues that class-size reduction efforts take away from schools' capacity for innovation and teacher support:
Obsession with class size is causing many public schools to look like relics. We spend so much to employ lots of teachers that there isn't enough left to help these teachers be effective. According to the city's education department, New York public schools spend on average less than 3 percent of their budgets on instructional supplies and equipment (1 percent), textbooks (0.6 percent), library books and librarians (0.5 percent), and computer support (0.5 percent). Basic supplies are rationed in absurd ways: A school will pay $5 million in salaries to teachers who end up wasting time writing on blackboards because the school has run out of paper that costs a penny a page. (Don't believe me? Ask a teacher.)
Moskowitz notes that by accepting "comparatively large" class sizes, Harlem Success Academy Charter School has been able to provide a laptop and a Kindle to every one of its 5th graders and has a Smart Board in every classroom.