Does size matter when it comes to public school classes?

[Cross posted from Institute for Critical Education Studies blog]

Does size matter when it comes to public school classes?

This question was debated on CBC Radio’s The Current this morning. Burnaby, BC grade 4/5 teacher Jennifer Heighton, Russ Whitehurst of the Brookings Institution, and I weighed in on the question.

Important context is the ongoing BC teachers strike, where class size and composition are key elements of contract negotiations. The ruling BC Liberals stripped class size and composition rules from the BC teachers contract in 2002, a move that has twice been judged as illegal by BC courts.

I’ve written a brief summary of class size research, with key references, which you can find here.

You can read a very recent review of the research on class size here.

Last month, Global TV BC broadcast a “town hall” discussion on a wide variety of education issues related to education in BC and the ongoing dispute between teachers and government, including class size. You can watch that segment here.

Here’s a good background piece from The Tyee: Everything You Need to Know about BC Teacher Bargaining

Listen to The Current segment (21 minutes) on class size here.

Wrapped Up in the Flag: Immigration, Ethnic Studies, and Gun Legislation in Arizona

Critical Education has just published its latest issue at http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled. We invite you to review the
Table of Contents here and then visit our web site to read articles and other items of interest.

Thanks for the continuing interest in our work,

Stephen Petrina
Sandra Mathison
E. Wayne Ross
Co-Editors, Critical Education
Institute for Critical Education Studies
University of British Columbia

Critical Education
Vol 5, No 8 (2014)
Table of Contents
http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/issue/view/182496

Liberalism in Educational Policy, Practice, and Discourse
——–

Wrapped Up in the Flag: Immigration, Ethnic Studies, and Gun Legislation in Arizona
Frances Julia Riemer

Abstract

In this article, I direct an anthropological lens to the state’s university campuses and to the discursive construction and marketing, as well as the accommodation, negotiation, and contestation of the state’s controversial legislation around diversity education and guns. Focusing on tertiary education, I examine both the ways that the rhetoric of liberalism, that of constitutional rights, the nation state, and individualism in particular, has been employed to package and sell the state’s anti-Ethnic Studies and pro-gun initiatives, and the discursive struggles in which university communities have been engaged in the attempt to rebut these political incursions. I argue that a liberal discourse has been employed to defend what otherwise might be perceived as discriminatory positions enacted on the state level in Arizona. In this border state, demarcated by ever growing racial and class-based difference, legislation promoting assimilationist pedagogy, and wider gun distribution may be desired, but it is most easily defended when wrapped up in the stars and stripes of liberalism.

CFP Transformative Researchers & Educators for Democracy: “How public is public education?”

TRED Conference 2014
How Public is Public Education?
Call for Proposals

The Transformative Researchers and Educators for Democracy (TRED) will be holding its third Annual Conference, “How Public is Public Education?”, November 14 and 15, 2014, at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Founded in 2011, UMass Dartmouth’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies has grown to four cohorts of future transformative leaders. Ph.D. and Ed.D. candidates in the program have sought to provide a public space for educational researchers and practitioners to engage in critical and transformative dialogues. Through forums, presentation sessions, panel discussions, and informal gatherings, TRED continues its ambition to place the discussion of educational leadership and policy within the dynamics of ideological production that reflect existing power imbalances that perpetuate inequalities within society.

The theme of the 2014 conference, How Public is Public Education?, reflects the critical elements within and beyond the field of education that need to be discussed, heard, and analyzed as we search for solutions. Professors, students, educational leaders, and the public are all welcome to submit proposals and to attend the conference.

Submitting Proposals
Proposals can be submitted to TREDconf@umassd.edu
Like us on Facebook and look for any new information at Facebook.com/TRED.UMassD
ALL PROPOSALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY: Tuesday September 30th 2014.

Guidelines
TRED will be accepting presentation proposals for papers, symposiums, and research-in-progress roundtables. Upon submission of your proposal, please identify it to one of the following strands:

A. K-12; charter schools, innovation schools
B. Higher Education; adjunct faculty, campus based women’s, gender and cultural centers
C. Public Policy; Race to the Top, high-stakes standardized testing

PAPERS
Paper sessions provide individuals an opportunity to present a condensed version of their study. The research may focus on, but is not limited to, a question from an empirical or theoretical perspective. After all papers within a session have been presented, those in attendance will have the opportunity to dialogue with panelists.

RESEARCH IN PROGRESS ROUNDTABLE
Roundtable sessions are to open critical and insightful dialogue from colleagues familiar with a subject matter to support a developing study. Roundtables will be organized and led by a facilitator.

SYMPOSIUM
Symposiums consist of an integrated set of presentations with a similar topic as the focal point. This format of presenting will be limited to at least three, but no more than five, presentations. The proposal should identify who will be lead discussant or organizer, and, upon review, a TRED committee member may be named as the chair.

Proposal Requirements (For all submissions)
1. Cover Page

  • Title
  • Researcher(s)
  • Contact Information
  • Organization/University
  • Panel Category

2. Abstract(300 word limit, not included in 1,000 word limit for proposal)
3. Individual Proposal (1,000 word limit)

  • Presenters (Identify who is the main contact person)
  • Theoretical Framework and Connections to Conference Theme;
  • Purpose;
  • Research Design/Methods;
  • Conclusion/Findings;
  • References

4. Symposium Group Proposal (1,500 word limit)

  • A common objective or theme should be outlined, providing perspectives on the particular topic.
  • 1-2 paragraphs in which the purpose of the symposium and connections among presenter paper’s is defined;
  • Overview of each paper being presented including: methods, theoretical framework, research topic, and findings;
  • Briefly describe the format and structure of the symposium

*If your symposium proposal is accepted, only the first author will be notified, and the first author is responsible for notifying all other co-authors*

For questions or comments, please contact: TREDconf@umassd.edu

Public funding of private schools is at odds with democracy

Public funding for private schools is at odds with creating a more equitable, just, and democratic society.

It is a policy that almost always privileges families with more disposable income over the less wealthy and poor and often privileges religious education over secular education.

Moreover, public funding of private schools supports a two-tiered system of education that allows some schools to cherry pick who attends and undermines the concepts of the public good and community in favor of individual gain.

Public school budget cuts result in closed libraries, reduced special education services, and increased class size, while private schools are publicly subsidized to provide the advantaged with more benefits. These include such as smaller class sizes, which allow teachers to be more responsive to student needs and customize learning activities and to provide private school students with enriched curricula in art, sports, and music programs.

For the first one hundred years of its history there was no public funding of private or religious schools in British Columbia. The Social Credit government introduced public funding of private education in 1977 and only then did enrolment in private schools begin to increase, taking a larger share of the provincial education budget.

Since the BC Liberals ascended to power, British Columbians have been subjected to a steady stream of ideologically driven public policy decisions that shift responsibility for providing and financing public services from the public to the private domain. As with other public assets, their aim is to privatize the commonwealth of the province.

Public funding of private schools is a form of privatization consistent with fundamental ideological positions of the BC Liberals and the corporate media in BC, which include reducing taxes on the wealthy and corporations and cutting public spending for social services.

Privatizing public enterprises, goods, and services is usually done in the name of increased efficiency, but mainly has the effect of concentrating wealth in fewer hands (the gap between the wealthiest and the majority of BC families has grown dramatically over the past 30 plus years) and making the public pay more for its needs (see, for example, BC Ferries).

Not unlike academy schools in England or charter schools in the US, public funding of private schools in BC is privatization through the back door.

Elite private schools are subsidized by the public, while public schools are told to look to the market—recruiting tuition paying international students, setting up school district business companies, or opening their doors to corporate programs—or to parent fund raising, to solve a budget crisis imposed by government’s distorted priorities.

In a recent editorial, The Province charged critics of public funding for private schools with being “long on ideology and short on intelligence,” but it seems this paper’s own market ideology has blinded them to some key facts.

The fundamental idea of public funding for private schools is based on the false premise that private schools do a better job. In reality, public school students outperform private school students.

A recent study of first-year physics students at UBC found that those who had graduated from public schools in Metro Vancouver outperformed their private schools peers.

This finding is reiterated in a study just published by the University of Chicago Press, which concludes public schools achieve the same or better mathematics results as private schools with demographically similar students.

In 2006, the Educational Testing Service reached similar conclusions, finding that US public school students outpaced private school students in both reading and math.

Private school enrolment is soaring because it is encouraged by public policies that divert public money to support private interests and by ideologies that promote individualism and private gain over community and shared interests.

[Edited version published as op-ed column, "Private education funding is undemocratic," in Times Colonist, June 28, 2014: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-private-education-funding-is-undemocratic-1.1185002]

[Shorten version published as letter, "Education: Privatization through the back door: Responsibility for public services shifting to private domain," in Vancouver Sun, June 21, 2014: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Saturday+June+Education+Privatization+through+back+door/9960264/story.html]

 

 

CFP: SCHOLACTIVISM: Reflections on Transforming Praxis Inside and Outside the Classroom

A Call for Papers
Works and Days & Cultural Logic

SCHOLACTIVISM:
Reflections on Transforming Praxis Inside and Outside the Classroom
Edited by Joseph G. Ramsey
Proposal Deadline: August 30, 2014
Paper Submissions Deadline: Jan. 30, 2015
To appear in the Winter of 2015

 

Where do radical scholarship, teaching, and activism connect? Where should they? How do academics at present engage in activism? How ought we to? What are the strengths and weaknesses of prevailing modes of scholar-activist political praxis—from union efforts, to conference assemblies, from summer seminars, to party-building efforts, to various on and off-campus coalitions? What do scholars and teachers in particular have to contribute to activist campaigns beyond the classroom? How can the classroom itself be understood as a site of activism? In what ways do the “educators need to be educated” today?What should effective activism produce? What can we learn, both positively and negatively, from past attempts at transformative intellectual-political praxis?

What positive models, past or present, local or distant, can we point to in terms of scholar or teacher activism that have opened new radical possibilities? What pitfalls threaten such academic-activist interventions? In what sense does the intellectual, scholarly, or pedagogical production taking place on or around university, college, of K-12 campuses today become a “material force” in the world in which we live? To what extent does it enable or become an obstacle to genuine movement for radical social change?What opportunities for transformative praxis are being opened up in the current conjuncture of crisis-racked neoliberal capitalism? Which are being shut down?

How is the shifting terrain of the “post-welfare state university” –with its decreasing state support for the humanities and its increasing reliance on super-exploited “adjunct” faculty and high stakes testing—creating new chances and new dangers for radical praxis? Which avenues of activism hold the most promise for us in the present period? Which appear to foreclosed or blocked? Which appear to be fundamentally exhausted and why? What modes of activism today in fact play a negative role in dissipating, confusing, or ensnaring radical political energies, preventing them from pursuing more productive avenues? How should we to relate to the experiences, the legacies, and the cultural productions of previous eras of activism? To what extent do we see our present scholarly and activist, intellectual and political commitments as extensions of these prior efforts? To what extent do we see our own praxis as representing a rupture from these past moments’ work? What are the positive and what are the negative lessons that can be critically abstracted from these prior moments, and how are they of value for us today? For instance: What are the correct critical lessons to be derived from the rapid rise and fall of the Occupy Movement in the US? From recent labor movements on and off campus? From other mass mobilizations across the world since the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2008? In our writing, our teaching, our conversations, and correspondence: how do we relate to the notion of ‘activism’ in theory and in practice?

What is the unconscious political content of the scholarly and pedagogical forms in which we are engaged? What is the message that our activism sends out, and to whom is it addressed? In recent years Slavoj Zizek has invoked the need for a kind of “Bartelby” politics—a preference for not acting—against a liberal blackmail to “act” in ways that are fundamentally inadequate to the systemic contradictions and crises of the present situation (understood as structurally embedded in contemporary capitalism). Sometimes, he has warned, the injunction to “do something”… anything, right now functions, deliberately or not, as a means of deferring the conversations and investigations that are necessary for a subject’s discovering the correct thing that in fact needs to be done. At the same time, there are plenty on the left who would chastise Zizek and company for theorizing in ways that perpetually defer the necessity for some sort of outward oriented radical action, action that transforms the conditions of conversation and analysis by engaging people who are not usually so engaged. In what ways are left public intellectuals such as Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, David Graeber, or Arundhati Roy, making material contributions to movements for social liberation? What are the strengths and what are the weaknesses of these scholar activists’ theory and practice? We welcome contributions of any form or length that address any of the above questions or that contribute to any of the following tasks. In this 2015 special issue, help us to:

  • Assess the role of scholars, teachers, and cultural specialists in activist communities, and social movements, past or present;
  • Sum up the role played by academics, teachers, scholars, librarians and others in the Occupy Movement; from “Free University” efforts to “People’s Libraries” to attempts to bring Occupy discourse into classrooms (or union meetings);
  • Engage the legacies, lessons, and limits of Labor Education in the United States;
  • Sum up first-hand experiments with radical pedagogy, inside or outside the classroom; reflecting on attempts to expand or sustain student critique and community beyond the confines of the classroom, in time and/or space;
  • Reflect on attempts (failed as well as successful, recent as well as more distant) to create new spaces for critique, new critical collectivities that transgress and transcend dominant divisions between “academia” and “activist,” from attempts to bring activist groups, methods, or perspectives onto campus or into classrooms, to efforts to bring academic work to the public, and to existing or emerging social movements and activist organizations;
  • Critically analyze the role played by organic intellectuals in past struggles;
  • Offer reports from the field of contemporary social struggles, including but limited to: Contingent Labor and Unionization efforts, Ecological Justice and Sustainability, Feminism, Prisoner and Immigrant Solidarity, and others.
  • Reflect on the role of artistic production and its relationship to scholarship and/or activism. What productive examples of a mutual enrichment of radical politics and creative arts exist in the present? In the past? What are the lessons positive and negative to be grasped practically from a critical study of previous encounters of Art and Politics?

We welcome: Testimonials, Credos, Manifestos of Academic and/or Activist practices, and Reports from the Field, as well as more traditional essays and scholarly papers. We seek first-hand accounts of attempts to overcome particular obstacles to engaging social struggles and radical political issues in the classroom or in other academic contexts, in all their mix of positive and negative results. We also welcome personal accounts of struggles to overcome the various forms of alienation that characterize academic labor in the humanities today, and that confront academic activists in particular. How have you sought to reconcile your commitments as activist and as scholar and as teacher in the current environment? What insight or advice can you offer others facing similar struggles? We also welcome: Poetry as well as prose, photography, graphic art, and other creative forms, as well as reviews of recent critical or cultural production (books, films, blogs, etc) that thoughtfully engage any of the above topics. Please submit all proposals (250-500 words) by August 30 to: Joseph Ramsey at jgramsey@gmail.com . The print edition of the volume will appear in Works and Days in 2015. An expanded online open-access version will appear in Cultural Logic: An Electronic Journal of Marxist Theory and Practice www.clogic.eserver.org .

 

 

 

The latest test resistance news (Compiled by FairTest)

Alaska Repeals High School Exit Exam, Plans to Award Withheld Diploma
http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/new-education-bill-could-help-those-without-diplomas/26378278

New Connecticut State Tests Mean Less Time for Teaching and Learning
http://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20140604/NEWS/140609555

One Florida Mother Has Had it With High Stakes Testing
http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/one-mother-has-had-it-with-high-stakes-public-school-tests-whats-her-next/2183397

Union Challenges Florida’s Test-Based “Merit Pay” Law as “Irrational”
http://tbo.com/news/education/teachers-and-union-appeal-state-merit-pay-ruling-20140605/

Indiana State-Federal Assessments Stand-off Illustrates Politically Driven Testing Charade
http://www.jconline.com/story/opinion/editorials/2014/06/06/editorial-istep-fight-far-classroom/10073887/

Louisiana School Grades Distort Picture of Education
http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/opinion/9373801-171/letter-tests-dont-show-whole

Gov. Jindal Wants to Pull Louisiana Out of Common Core Testing
http://theadvocate.com/home/9382945-125/jindal-says-he-wants-state

Maine School Grading System Has Major Flaws
http://courier.mainelymediallc.com/news/2014-06-05/Editorial/Beyond_the_Headlines.html

New Massachusetts Teacher Union President Supports Three-Year Moratorium on Standardized Testing
http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2014/06/05/massachusetts-teachers-association-new-president-rejects-assessments-testing-and-other-education-policies/N4LWsYjMXyc3ON98pxnPJP/story.html#

New Jersey Testing Concerns Grow as PARCC Phase-In Begins
http://www.edlawcenter.org/news/archives/secondary-reform/testing-concerns-grow-as-parcc-phase-in-begins.html

More Questions on Accuracy of New Mexico Teacher Evaluations
http://www.abqjournal.com/412073/news/more-questions-on-evals-accuracy.html

Upstate New York School Districts Say “No” to Pearson Field Tests
http://www.rochesterhomepage.net/story/d/story/districts-say-no-to-field-testing/34312/RgeZZhyTcEKUTTnUeoLG_A

Field Test is Exercise in Futility
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/gonzalez-practice-testing-state-mandated-exercise-futility-article-1.1817474

Just Say “No” to NY Field Tests
http://www.wnyc.org/story/opinion-tell-parents-they-can-just-say-no-field-tests/

New Yorkers Demand Release of Test Questions for Public Inspection
https://www.votervoice.net/NYSAPE/campaigns/36307/respond

New York Republican Legislators Promote Plan to Review Common Core Assessments
http://www.longislandexchange.com/press-releases/common-core-cant-be-forgotten/

Bill Would End Pearson’s Common Core Testing Contract
http://www.lohud.com/story/news/education/2014/06/04/senator-wants-pearson-ties-cut/9969003/

Why I Despise North Carolina’s End-of-Grade Tests
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20140604/LETTERS/140609887/1107/opinion?Title=Let-the-tests-begin-

Ohio’s Standardized Tests: What’s the Point?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/claire-klodell/standardized-tests_b_5448020.html

Oklahoma Schools Challenge Flawed Writing Test Scores
http://www.koco.com/news/school-districts-say-test-scores-inaccurate-asking-for-rescore/26314828#!UfudR

Standardized Tests for Tennessee Learning Disabled Students Make Little Sense
http://www.dnj.com/article/20140605/OPINION/306050010

Bringing Transparency to Tennessee Testing
http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2014/06/09/bring-transparency-school-testing-process/10202061/

Vermont to Develop Local Proficiency Standards, Not State Exit Exam
http://www.vnews.com/news/12274494-95/vt-schools-to-create-new-high-school-proficiency-standards

Virginia Kids Are Not “All Right” Due to High-Stakes Testing
http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/guest-columnists/lehman-testing—the-kids-are-not-all-right/article_f7d8f824-72a3-5763-a7d9-2a6704d30bab.html

NCLB Falsely Labels Wyoming Schools as “Failing”
http://trib.com/opinion/columns/thompson-wyoming-schools-are-failing-try-again/article_8ace31e9-c1c2-52e8-82e6-a00b550037ec.html

Obama-Duncan Education Policies Test Our Patience
http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/books/chi-0608-biblioracle-20140606,0,3100945,full.column

What Happens When a Student Fails a High-Stakes Test
http://conversationed.com/2014/05/27/the-academic-life-cycle-of-a-non-proficient-student/

This Is Not a Test: Jose Vilson’s Vision of Race, Class and Education in the U.S.
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/24112-testing-narrative-jose-vilsons-vision-of-race-class-and-education-in-the-us

You Don’t Fatten a Pig By Weighing It
http://www.laep.org/2014/06/03/you-dont-fatten-a-pig-by-weighing-it/

Testing Overkill Won’t Draw In Better Teachers
http://www.tallahassee.com/story/opinion/columnists/2014/06/04/sally-butzin-testing-bring-better-teachers/9978157/

Correcting a Harmful Misuse of Test Scores
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/assessing_the_assessments/2014/06/correcting_a_harmful_misuse_of_students_test_scores.html

Morality, Validity and the Design of Instructionally Sensitive Tests
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/assessing_the_assessments/2014/06/morality_validity_and_the_design_of_instructionally_sensitive_tests.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS3

Common Core Assessment Sales Job is a Hoax
http://mobile.gazettenet.com/home/12038490-108/louise-law-john-stifler-look-between-the-lines-on-education-reform

National Principals Groups Seeks Pause in Common Core Assessments
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/06/03/national-principals-group-urges-slowdown-in-common-core-implementation/

“We Will Not Let an Exam Decide Our Fate”
http://conversationed.com/2014/05/30/i-will-not-let-an-exam-result-decide-my-fate-spoken-word-video/

I Am a Scientist with Learning Disabilities, And That’s OK
http://blogs.plos.org/speakingofmedicine/2014/06/10/im-scientist-learning-disabilities-thats-okay/

New review of research on class size by David Zyngier (Monash U, Australia)

Class size and academic results, with a focus on children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities

David Zyngier
Senior Lecturer in Curriculum and Pedagogy
Monash University

Abstract
The question of class size continues to attract the attention of educational policymakers and researchers alike. Australian politicians and their advisers, policy makers and political commentators agree that much of Australia’s increased expenditure on education in the last 30 years has been ‘wasted’ on efforts to reduce class sizes. They conclude that funding is therefore not the problem in Australian education, arguing that extra funding has not led to improved academic results. Many scholars have found serious methodological issues with the existing reviews that make claims for the lack of educational and economic utility in reducing class sizes in schools. Significantly, the research supporting the current policy advice to both state and federal ministers of education is highly selective, and based on limited studies originating from the USA. This comprehensive review of 112 papers from 1979-2014 assesses whether these conclusions about the effect of smaller class sizes still hold. The review draws on a wider range of studies, starting with Australian research, but also includes similar education systems such as England, Canada, New Zealand and non-English speaking countries of Europe. The review assesses the different measures of class size and how they affect the results, and also whether other variables such as teaching methods are taken into account. Findings suggest that smaller class sizes in the first four years of school can have an important and lasting impact on student achievement, especially for children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities. This is particularly true when smaller classes are combined with appropriate teacher pedagogies suited to reduced student numbers. Suggested policy recommendations involve targeted funding for specific lessons and schools, combined with professional development of teachers. These measures may help to address the inequality of schooling and ameliorate the damage done by poverty, violence, inadequate child care and other factors to our children’s learning outcomes.

Class size and composition most important public policy issue in BC teachers dispute

Cross post from Institute for Critical Education Studies blog.

Class size and composition is arguably the single most important public policy issue in the current dispute between BC teachers and government.

The educational and economic implications of class size and composition policies are huge, but in the context of collective bargaining and related court cases public discussion of the costs and benefits of class size reduction has been cut short.

Class size is one of the most rigorously studied issues in education. Educational researchers and economists have produced a vast amount of research and policy studies examining the effects of class size reduction (CSR).

What is the research evidence on CSR?

Since the late 1970s, the empirical evidence shows that students in early grades perform better in small classes and these effects are magnified for low-income and disadvantaged students. Most studies have focused on primary grades, but the relatively small number of studies of later grades also shows positive results of CSR.

Randomized experiments are the “gold standard” in social science research. One such study, known as Project STAR, involved 11,500 students and 1,300 teachers in 79 Tennessee schools produced unequivocal results that CSR significantly increased student achievement in math and reading.

A CSR experiment in Wisconsin illustrated student gains in math, reading, and language arts. In Israel, which has high, but strict maximum class size rules, a rigorous study of CSR produced results nearly identical to Project STAR. Studies in Sweden, Denmark, and Bolivia find similar results.

Do all studies of CSR produce unequivocal positive results? No, but the vast majority of research, including the most rigorous studies, leave no doubt about the positive effects of CSR.

The research evidence on CSR led to class-size caps in California, Texas, Florida, and British Columbia, before the BC government stripped them from the teachers’ contract in 2002.

Why are smaller classes better?

Observational research in reduced size classes finds that students are more highly engaged with what they are learning. That is, students have higher participation rates, spend more time on task, and demonstrate more initiative.

In turn, teachers in smaller classes spend more time on instruction and less time managing misbehavior. They also have more time to reteach lessons when necessary and to adapt their teaching to the individual needs of the students.

One, perhaps counter-intuitive, finding from the research is experienced teachers are better able to capitalize on the advantages of smaller classes than more novice teachers.

How small is small enough?

Project STAR reduced class size from an average of 22 students to 15. Previous research found significant positive effects of CSR at below 20.

Based on these findings some have argued that CSR is not effective unless these levels are attainable. But, the broad pattern of evidence indicates a positive impact of CSR across a range of class sizes.

What about the costs?

There are demonstrable costs involved in reducing class size. As with all public policy questions both benefits and costs must be considered. The potential future costs of not creating smaller classes in public schools also must be taken into account.

Reduced class size boosts not only educational achievement, but has a positive impact on variety of life outcomes after students leave school.

Results from a number of studies show that students assigned to small classes have more positive educational outcomes than their peers in regular-sized classes including rates of high school graduation, post-secondary enrolment and completion, and quality of post-secondary institution attended.

Additionally, students from small classes have lower rates of juvenile criminal behavior and teen pregnancy; and better savings behavior and higher rates of homeownership than peers from regular-size classes.

What are the policy implications of CSR research?

Class size in an important determinant of a broad range of educational and life outcomes, which means policy decisions in this area will have a significant impact on future quality of life in the province.

The money saved today by not reducing class size will be offset by more substantial social and educational costs in the future, making class size reduction the most cost-effective policy.

Sample of CSR Research Articles:

Angrist, J.D., & Lavy, V. (1999). Using Maimonides’ rule to estimate the effect of class size on scholastic achievement. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114(2), 533-575.

Browning, M., & Heinesen, E. (2007). Class Size, teacher hours and educational attainment. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 109(2), 415-438.

Chetty, R., Friedman, J.N., Hilger, N., Saez, E., Schanzenbach, D.W., & Yagan D. (2011). How does your kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from Project STAR. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 126(4), 1593-1660.

Dynarski, S., Hyman, J., & Schanzenbach, D.W. (2013). Experimental evidence on the effect of childhood investments on postsecondary attainment and degree completion. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(4), 692-717.

Finn, J., Gerber, S., & Boyd-Zaharias, J. (2005). Small classes in the early grades, academic achievement, and graduating from high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(2), 214-223.

Fredriksson, P., Öckert, B., & Oosterbeek, H. (2013). Long-term effects of class size. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(1), 249-285.

Krueger, A.B. (1999). Experimental estimates of education production functions. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(2), 497-532.

Krueger, A.B., & Whitmore, D. (2001). The effect of attending a small class in the early grades on college test taking and middle school test results: Evidence from Project STAR. Economic Journal, 111, 1-28.

Krueger, A.B., & Whitmore, D. (2002). Would smaller classes help close the black-white achievement gap? In J.Chubb & T. Loveless (Eds.), Bridging the Achievement Gap (pp. 11-46). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

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BC Teachers Strike Debate on Global BC Morning News Show

This morning on the Global BC Morning News Show, Sophie Lui and Steve Darling interviewed a variety of people on key issues related to education in British Columbia, in the context of the current labour dispute between the teachers and the BC government.

Segment 1
Topic: Cost of education to both parents and teachers (for example, money spent on supplies, possibility of corporate sponsorships as possible solution to alleviate the funding problem?)
Guest 1: Lisa Cable (Parents for B.C. Founder)
Guest 2: Harman Pandher (Burnaby School Board Trustee, Surrey teacher & parent)

Segment 2
Peter Fassbender, BC Minister of Education

Segment 3
Jim Iker, President of British Columbia Teachers Federation

Segment 4
Topic: Class size & composition
Guest 1: E. Wayne Ross (UBC Professor, Faculty of Education)
Guest 2: Nick Milum (Vancouver School Board Student Trustee)

Segment 5
Topic: Future of education, fixing the system & avoiding future strikes?)
Guest 1: Charles Ungerleider (UBC Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education)
Guest 2: Dan Laitsch (SFU Associate Professor, Faculty of Education)