Class size commando

Known for his brawn, the Terminator may soon be known for his flexibility, too. He still can't touch his toes (so far as we know) but he is trying to give districts more wiggle-room when it comes to school spending. Governor Schwarzenegger's new budget proposal would allow them to use state class-size reduction funds however they see fit--and for that he's taking "Red Heat" from teachers' unions and others. Said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, "It's a sad day for all of California...We know class-size reduction works." Actually, we don't. Many studies (like this one, for example) show that lowering class size is a far-from-effective reform. In fact, capping class size means districts have to hire more warm bodies to fill new classrooms--and quantity over quality is simply a "Raw Deal" when it comes to teacher effectiveness. District leaders need all possible flexibility in deploying their dwindling funds in the most efficacious ways--a lesson more states should find worth learning.

"Bid for flexibility in class-size reduction funds criticized," by Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2009

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