Class size, teacher pay matter in student performance, expert says
Despite failed legislative efforts and ballot initiatives, some Florida superintendents continue to seek ways to scale back implementation of the state's class size rules to measure as a school average rather than a classroom count.
An expert testifying in the ongoing Texas school funding trial suggests that might be the wrong answer.
Clive Belfield, an economist at Queens College in New York, told the court that reducing class sizes has a direct impact on improving graduation rates, according to the Dallas Morning News. "In a class of 15 students, the teacher can spend more time with struggling students. With a class size of 30, a student who is having difficulty is more likely to be left behind," he said, adding that the struggling children are more apt to drop out.
"Belfield, an expert witness for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, also said raising teacher salaries has a positive effect on high school graduation rates. His analysis indicated that if Texas raised average teacher pay by 10 percent, it would increase the graduation rate by 5 percent. He cited two immediate benefits — veteran teachers would be more likely to stay in their jobs and the applicant pool of teachers for vacant jobs would be larger, with more graduates from elite colleges."