Radnor Parents For Small Class Size

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We wish to communicate to the Radnor School Board and to the Administration that we want them to make reduction in class size a priority going forward. The mechanisms at work linking small classes to higher achievement include a mixture of higher levels of student engagement, increased time on task, and the opportunity small classes provide for high-quality teachers to better tailor their instruction to the students in the class. The research is there. Class size matters. Even the finest teachers are limited in what they can do when they have large classes. We urge Radnor School District decision makers to revisit their position on increasing class sizes for all schools within the district.

During the 2016-2017 Radnor School District parents saw a dramatic increase in their children's class size--many can attest to the fact that this correlated directly with a marked reduction in their child's progress and overall experience. Issues cited include: lack of classroom engagement, increased class room disruptions, diminished quality of instruction, and a general level of dissatisfaction communicated by the children who were directly impacted by these larger class sizes.

We the undersigned realize that there are different viewpoints about the importance of class size--someone in education policy, philanthropy, media, or administration will inevitably say something about why class size isn’t really very important because a great teacher can handle a boatload of kids--however, as parents, we have first-hand knowledge of the difference in quality a larger class size can have on our own children's educational experience. For reference, the following is our position on this subject.

*Class size is an important determinant of student outcomes, and one that can be directly determined by policy. All else being equal, increasing class sizes will harm student outcomes.

* The evidence suggests that increasing class size will harm not only children’s test scores in the short run, but also their long-run human capital formation. Money saved today by increasing class sizes will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the future.

* The payoff from class-size reduction is greater for low-income and minority children, while any increases in class size will likely be most harmful to these populations.

* Policymakers should carefully weigh the efficacy of class-size policy against other potential uses of funds. While lower class size has a demonstrable cost, it may prove the more cost-effective policy overall.

(Northwestern University Associate, Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, and Published by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder 2009.)



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