Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Saving Teachers and Education

Saving teachers and Education
"I don't understand how anyone, Democrat or Republican, can be against keeping teachers in the classroom..." said Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader quotes the NY times. $16 Billion to fund 160,000 teacher jobs. $100,000 per job.

This action along with reports from local parents sending their kids back to the local school starting this week to find class sizes up to 35.

Accurate reality: the number of students per teacher in a classroom is not a function of money. It is a reflection of 1) regulation (think special ed requirements, counseling requirements) 2) priorities (it is important that every student have access to...) and 3) bureaucracy (too many people designing new curriculum) , in other words - our collective will interpreted over time and wrenched by political forces.

I did some math on the local school system. They employ 15,000 to teach 100,000 students. Of the 15000, there are '8000 teachers.' Sounds reasonable, right? 12.5 students per teacher. But wait, until recently, the state mandated a maximum average number of students per classroom of 17.5 in elementary school, moving to 23 in high school. So, they really had only 5000 classroom teachers? With the rest engaged in special education and other activities? And another 7000 folks keeping the books, cooking and providing transportation?

The local elementary school has 1000 students. Last year, 57 classrooms. Total employment around 120. 80 of them 'teachers', This year after 'cuts', 47 classrooms. Employment after 'cuts' amounting to 5% of total school system employment, 114? Do you think they could find 10 'teachers' to keep class size the same? It is just will.

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