The [Wednesday] Papers
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's push to close dozens of schools hinges on a vision of the 'ideal' size for kindergarten through eighth-grade classes as 30 students, far larger than is the case now in the typical Chicago classroom," the Tribune reports.
Rahm Emanuel wants to make CPS class sizes larger.
"Setting a benchmark higher than what records indicate is reality across Chicago - and far higher than in many suburbs - indicates to some that Emanuel is willing to buck the popular notion that smaller classes produce better students who get more individual attention."
I wonder if he's trying to buck that notion at the University of Chicago Lab Schools where he sends his kids. (Classroom size of 23 in grades 1 through 4 - plus assistant teachers to help with the load.) He's probably blowing up the phones of Lab administrators as we speak, haranguing them about wasting resources.
"Pegging calculations to a 30-student class allows the mayor and school officials to drive the public debate with attention-grabbing statistics. It has enabled the Emanuel administration to declare nearly half of all elementary and high schools underused, leaving 100,000 desks empty."
What an interesting lesson.
"On the other side of the ledger, however, are numbers that raise questions about the district's calculations."
Aren't there always?
"Becky Carroll, a CPS spokeswoman, argued that big classes don't necessarily hamper learning.
"It's the quality of teaching in that classroom," Carroll said. "You could have a teacher that is high-quality that could take 40 kids in a class and help them succeed."
Why not 45 kids? 50? Just get an even higher quality teacher!
Average class size at New Trier High School: 22.4.
It's true, as the story says, that a Brookings study found no correlation between class size and student outcomes. It's also true that no one believes that study except those who find it politically convenient to wield.
Northwestern's Jeanne Marie Olson, who is quoted in the story, explains in the Tribune's comments section:
Thank you for the great article and the mention. I have to point out that the Center for Public Education did a similar review of the research and ended up with different conclusions than the Brookings study did. You can find the research review entitled "Class-size-and-student-achievement-Research-review."
I don't know if Carroll has kids, but if she does, I wonder how she would feel if she was told they were being moved from a classroom of, say, 22.4 to 30. Better?
We don't need a moratorium on school closings, we need a moratorium on bullshit. To wit:
From the Beachwood vault:
"Chief CPS Communications Officer Becky Carroll is in line for a base of $165,000 - up from her predecessor's $130,383 and higher than the base salary of mayoral communications chief Christine Mather, who is taking home $162,492."
Remember that press conference when Rahm scolded a Tribune reporter for asking if CTA fare increases would disproportionately hurt the poor? (See the item Mayor Rahmney.) If only the reporter would have attended Forrest Claypool's briefing, he wouldn't be asking such a stupid question.
Well, guess what?
Then again, Rahm reserves the right to deny he ever said whatever it is we've all seen him say.
Shooting, Bullying & Spitballing
Jimmy Orrville, Boy Detective
Kabul vs. Wall Street
The Beachwood Tip Line: Size matters.
Posted on March 6, 2013
© 2006 - 2017, The Beachwood Media Company