Are smaller classes the reason Florida schools are getting better?
Some supporters of the class-size amendment are saying yes, basically, even though they're often in the same education camps as those who say Florida schools are stagnant or getting worse.
Said U.S. Rep. (and U.S. Senate candidate) Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, who led the charge for the 2002 class-size amendment, in a statement a few days ago: "We've seen consistent improvement in test scores over the implementation period of the class size reduction program ... "
And said state Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, in this statement yesterday: "Florida's Class Size Amendment is a huge success that has eased classroom crowding, improved learning in public schools and helped to foster success for students."
As the debate over revisiting the class-size amendment heats up, expect to hear that argument a lot -- even as the high-quality-schools lawsuit moves forward and supporters of that cause accentuate the negative. Which side of that camp is right? Are Florida schools getting better or not?
For those who agree Florida schools are getting better, here's a thornier question: How much is due to class size? And how much is due to other factors in the mix (school grades, better standards, better testing, focus on early literacy, more school choice, etc.).