by Larry Sand
August 02, 2011
Teachers like smaller classes, and understandably so. The advantages include fewer papers to grade, students to manage, and parents to deal with. The teachers’ unions like smaller classes, too. Smaller classes mean more teachers—and more union dues. And parents like smaller classes because they believe that their children benefit from more individual attention. Everyone agrees that smaller classes are better, right? In a word: no. Much of the rhetoric supporting small classes is demagogic and runs afoul of the research. For many, the possibility that reducing class sizes may have negative effects on student achievement might at first seem counterintuitive. Considering the fiscal straits in which California finds itself, continuing to insist on smaller classes is foolhardy.