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Teacher’s Teachers Trump Class Size

Teachers in South Georgia learning about the potentials of using GPS technology in Education.
Flickr Photo by Judy Baxter

I’m home again, and being Saturday, I’m taking walks and just geeking out.  I’ve made it a ways through my aggregator, popping in and out of things that I would normally write about.  But, today, I just feel too lazy.  This one broke through my mode filter.  Published yesterday (May 29), eSchool News reports in Gates Foundation: Teachers Trump Class Size that,

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent billions of dollars exploring the idea that smaller high schools might result in higher graduation rates and better test scores. Instead, it found the key to better education is not necessarily smaller schools but more effective teachers. (( Staff, “Gates Foundation: Teachers trump class size .” eSchool News 29 May 2009 Web.30 May 2009. <http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=58946>. ))

Some issue is made of the fact that the B&MG foundation spent so much money to find out what most of us already knew.  As L.A. Unified’s chief of staff, Jim Morris, is quoted in the article, “Every teacher matters…”

I think that the new CEO of B&MG, Jeff Raikes, makes a good point.  We can’t really expect business to willing try things and fail.  It’s not in their short term interest.  And in the political environment of the past few decades, U.S. tax payers won’t stand for public dollars going into experiementing with education.  Who’s left?

Of course, if every teacher matters, and every classroom matters, then perhaps that’s where the power to innovate should be placed, in the hands of that teacher — funded by those who have the greatest interest in an educated future — everyone?

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  • Pingback: So, are small class sizes the optimal modality for success….. « Transparent Christina

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    David, please learn to use an apostrophe. I would complain, but your in _education_, and this is _basic_.

    The plural of “teacher” is “teachers”. Not “teacher’s”. Where on earth would you get the idea that you need to put an apostrophe in there?

    I wouldn’t complain, again, but you do this a _lot_. It’s like you just don’t know how to use an apostrophe. For someone who presumes to give advice to _teachers_ this is inexcusable.

    I know, nobody else is saying anything. They’re very polite. But it huts you, I’m sure. And it represents our field poorly, as people look at educational technology bloggers and say, “illiterates!”

    • http://transparentchristina.wordpress.com John

      and you say it “huts” David….do you mean “hurts” or “haunts”…either way, you just lost your point.

    • Christy

      “I would complain, but your in _education_, and this is _basic.”

      Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The above sentence should be using the form of “your” with the apostrophe, as in you’re (you are) in education.

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    “your in education” should be “you’re in education”, of course.

  • Pingback: Blog Comment » Teachers Trump Class Size « Andrew B. Watt’s Blog

  • http://www.gaellynch.blogspot.com Gael Lynch

    Thanks for sharing this news, David! You’re right…this comes as no surprise to any of us. Right now, our district is slashing teachers at the elementary and intermediate levels, has furloughed us six days, three of which are our professional development days. Pretty much counter what B & M Gates found to work!
    All this was done to produce a 0% increase in our town budget to counteract the fear that has spread due to the economy. It will be a long time before we see the tide turn again, I’m sure.

  • http://fastpaddy.blogspot.com Conor Bolton

    Hi David. If you are interested in the effect of teaching on student achievement, you may be interested in the work of Professor John Hattie of Auckland University in New Zealand. His recent book “Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement” makes it clear that all teachers influence learning, but it is the degree to which they influence it that is important. This has implications for the use of ICT’s in education because how do we show that their use progresses childrens’ learning at a higher rate, when just having a teacher in the classroom has a positive influence.

  • http://kcbrady.wordpress.com KC Brady

    Of course, every class, every day, is an experiment in education.

  • Christy

    And how nice it is that someone decided to validate that we teachers matter! Wow!

  • http://stager.tv/blog Gary Stager

    Isn’t this a matter of “school” size, not class size?

    The Gates Foundation’s naivete has been astonishing. There is little to justify trusting their efforts at all.

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