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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Does class size really matter?



We mentioned last week that Florida school district and state education leaders have not yet given up on the idea of scaling back the state's 2002 class size amendment. That generated some pretty heated debate, mostly in support of smaller class sizes.

But are small classes the solution?

In a new book, author/resaearcher Peg Tyre suggests that the research is far from settled on this matter. In fact, she writes, other factors appear much more important:

"There is a substantial body of research to suggest that kids in small classes don't necessarily learn more. In the range of things that schools can do to improve outcomes for your child, reducing class size may rank a distant fourth behind solid teacher training, a clear and well-sequenced curriculum, and a staff that is well supported and regularly evaluated."

Read Tyre's take — an excerpt from her book posted on — and then let's hear what you think. Can't some teachers and students handle 54 in a class, as Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho has said, so that others that need much smaller ratios — say, 2 children to 1 teacher — can also exist? The Florida Legislature is now allowing this, by removing hundreds of courses from the rule book. Good move or not?

[Last modified: Monday, August 8, 2011 10:14pm]


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