Comments on: In It For The Money: Classroom Sales it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Alan Benard Alan Benard Tue, 14 Aug 2012 05:50:44 +0000 Duane Thomas asks if parental, political and societal support of public education cause children to be more receptive to compulsory attendance. And he is correct. But I’d like to see evidence that any amount of encouragement could cause the average teacher to overcome the problem Dave actually lays out in the article. That problem is that the ability to form constructive relationships with other people has a demonstrable limit. That limit is, as Dave points out, about 20.

Can we agree that much smaller class sizes would produce much higher student achievement if professional academic researchers produce emperical evidence?

“(3) Class size was a significant predictor of achievement for students from low-income families. For every 3 fewer students in a classroom, students scored 11 points higher on the third grade achievement test. Class size explained 28% of the classroom level variance and 3% of the total variance in achievement above and beyond the other variables in the model. Findings suggest the importance of mathematics instructional quality and smaller class size among students from families with low income. Interventions that support teacher improvement in standards-based mathematics may hold promise in efforts to reduce the achievement gap.”

Merritt, E. G., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Berry, R. Q., Walkowiak, T. A., & Larsen, R. A. A. (2011). The contribution of mathematics instructional quality and class size to student achievement for third grade students from low income families. Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Retrieved from [link]

By: Duane Thomas Duane Thomas Mon, 13 Aug 2012 21:17:08 +0000 The author argues that small class sizes are critical to public school educational success because kids aren’t already sold on the importance of education before arriving at school.

“Kids in compulsory public schools often aren’t willing buyers; they need to be sold. And even Lee Iacocca couldn’t sell 40 reluctant buyers in a single group. “

Thus teachers’ jobs are much more difficult than they would be with “sold” students. Therefore, larger class sizes are impractical for the labor pool willing to work for a modest public school teacher’s salary. Accordingly, smaller class sizes and more teachers seem necessary, though costly.

However, aren’t there ways to make kids willing buyers of public school education? Can’t and shouldn’t parents, relatives, pastors, community leaders, the President… all make the sale before kids enter public schools?

Wouldn’t “sold kids” both improve the quality and reduce the costs of public school education?