Don’t give up class time in an era of tough choices

There’s no compelling evidence that confirms class size
reduction is the magic potion to improve student achievement. It’s
more about teaching methodology and technology implementation than
whether there are 20 or 28 faces at the desks in the
classrooms.
1. $7 million in school budget cuts means more faces in classrooms

There’s no compelling evidence that confirms class size reduction is the magic potion to improve student achievement. It’s more about teaching methodology and technology implementation than whether there are 20 or 28 faces at the desks in the classrooms.

Given that, the best choice when facing tough decisions on a budget that has to be reduced by $7 million next year is for the Gilroy School District to hike class sizes from kindergarten through third grade and jettison any notions about reducing the school year. Another option could be put to teachers: accept across-the-board pay reductions to save class size reductions.

2. Across-the-board pay cuts for Gilroy teachers isn’t a good solution

In our estimation, however, that would be counterproductive. Gilroy’s trained teaching corps, for example, isn’t even close to being compensated – in either salary or benefits – like Gilroy’s firefighters are.

Cutting the number of days in the school year only puts more pressure on the learning schedule. Teachers have continually pointed out that there’s a lot to do in the time allotted. Which brings us to another point: What actually should be under serious discussion is prolonging the school day and the school year. That has made a huge difference in struggling districts, and many charter schools have obtained positive and dramatic results with increased learning time.

3. Trustees should turn to technology to help improve efficiency

Technology can also play a significant role. Toward that end, school trustees should look closely at every means possible to purchase new tools – technology that has proven effective in this and other districts. In fact, in an era where efficiency counts double, trustees should set that as one of Superintendent Debbie Flores’ top goals.

School days are precious real estate in a system that counts on time spent with students. Giving that up is like throwing in the towel.

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