We must be the "Horton hears the Hoo!" of smaller class sizes and make our voices heard!
I teach elementary art in Georgia. Our district's school budget has been cut by multiple millions for 2 years running. More budget cuts are looming. And yet -- our state/school district continues to roll out new initiatives to "raise test scores" and use "more technology." They avoid the obvious. Why are ALL teachers are not advocating for smaller class sizes? Is it not one ABSOLUTE TRUTH we all can agree on --that smaller classes mean increased and improved learning by students! This, I believe:
1) An "excellent" teacher CAN be a phenomenal teacher with a smaller class size;
2) A "good" teacher CAN be an excellent teacher with a smaller class size;
3) An "average" teacher CAN improve her/his skills and be a great teacher---with smaller classes;
4) And finally, a "new" or "struggling" teacher can definitely struggle less and hone teaching skills when class sizes are smaller.
So why is it that a smaller class size is not considered EQUALLY as important as say: "inclusion" of special needs students; or technology; or professional development training for teachers? There is no "professional development" that comes with a "guarantee" of increased and sustained learning when the teacher is faced with a class size of 30 students!
if available funds were spent on the shrinking class sizes -- and NOT expended on additional training or even technology -- imagine what elevated learning could occur in smaller classes of only 15 to 20 students (even if only implemented in grades 1st-5th)! Ask any public school teacher and they would say smaller numbers would be a DREAM class!
I'm not pushing to eliminate professional development, to the contrary. Why not let principals and county/district professional learning departments attend to each school populations' unique needs, by offering targeted training combined with teacher/mentor observations to make sure better teaching is taking place?
I think we should all ADVOCATE and SPEAK OUT LOUD about the need for SMALLER CLASS SIZES. It is not as exciting as advocating for technology, but it does result in better learning - there is no disputing that fact! We must be the "Horton hears the Hoo!" of smaller class sizes and make our voices heard!