Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Small Classes Sound Great but . . .

Nationally, class size reduction is one of the most popular policies in education. Parents love the program because their children are more likely to receive individual attention. Teachers love them because the classes are easier to manage and smaller classes equal more teachers. According to Education Week, 32 states have programs to reduce class sizes. Naturally, these programs are very expensive. Florida has budgeted $2.8 billion towards class size reduction programs in 2009-10, not including costs borne by the individual districts or initial construction outlays. In the Matawan-Aberdeen School District, only Cliffwood Elementary has class sizes averaging 17 students or less. Is class size reduction, particularly in grades K-3, the best use of scarce dollars? After exhaustive research, I would have to say no.

Let’s begin with the claims of class size reduction (CSR) proponents.

U.S. Department of Education:

  • Studies have consistently identified a positive relationship between reduced class size and improved student performance
  • The benefits of class-size reduction are seen in kindergarten and through grades 1-3, and the effects are long lasting
  • A variety of studies confirm the findings of the STAR study
  • Findings from year one of an ongoing evaluation of the California initiative show positive achievement gains
  • The cost of implementing smaller class sizes in the early elementary grades can be offset by the resulting decrease in within-grade retention's, reduced high school dropout rates, a diminished need for remedial instruction and long-term special education services, and increased teacher satisfaction and retention
The Center for Public Education concurs and adds the following:
  • Project STAR found substantial evidence that reducing class size improved student academic achievement
  • A class size of 15-18 is the upper limit for capturing benefits in the early grades
  • The achievement of students in small classes outpaces that of students in larger classes by a widening margin for each additional year spent in small classes
  • Small classes in the primary grades can help close the achievement gap
Dominic Brewer, Phd, Rand Education:
  • The STAR evidence is quite strong and is undoubtedly the best we have on the underlying relationship between small classes and student outcomes (page 6)
  • Compelling evidence to support small classes (page 7)
The above claims are primarily based upon a single study conducted 20 years ago, Tennessee’s STAR Project.

“STAR was a state-funded program, operated 1985-89, that randomly assigned students entering kindergarten to regular classes of 22-26 students, small classes of 13-17 students, or regular classes with a teacher’s aide. Students remained in these small classes for four years. Schools and districts volunteered and were selected to participate but students and teachers were randomly assigned within a school.Teachers received no extra training or materials. Initially some 70 schools and 46 districts participated; by the end of study, the number of students had grown from 6,400 to 12,000.” (Brewer, 2005, page 5)

Proponents argue the STAR findings were later supported by California’s class size reduction reforms and Wisconsin’s SAGE program

“In 1996 the [California] state legislature introduced a class size reduction program affecting almost two million students in grades K-3 with a target of 20:1. Before the policy, the average class size in these grades in the state was about 28, so this represented a significant reduction. Priority was given first to grades 1 and 2, then to K and 3.The policy was passed just two months before the start of the school year. The program was voluntary—it provided funding of $650 per student (now $800) if they were in a “small” class—but almost all districts implemented the policy, which was popular with parents and educators. Over the past 5 years the state has spent more than $8 billion on the program.” (Brewer, 2005, page 9)

“In almost complete contrast, Wisconsin adopted in 1996 a highly targeted, phased-in class size reduction program as part of a reform called SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee in Education).This five-year pilot program began in just 14 schools that had high concentrations of poor children, and reduced class sizes from 21-25 to 12-15. Molnar et al. (1999) have demonstrated that this program had effects on student achievement not dissimilar to STAR (a gain of about 0.2 standard deviations in achievement) with minority students gaining significantly more. Compared to STAR, this study was much smaller in scale and less rigorous (students not randomly assigned), but its findings are more recent and generally confirmed the STAR results.” (Brewer, 2005, page 10)

So, what’s the problem? Eric Hanushek, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, has uncovered several.

Contrary to the Center for Public Education’s assertions, the gains are not cumulative, they’re fixed. According to the available data from STAR (Hanushek, 1998, page 30) and SAGE, once a child is put in a small class, either in kindergarten or first grade, the benefit remains fixed regardless of the class sizes in later years; additional years of small classes don’t help and large classes don’t hurt.

(Another finding was that teacher aides provided no benefit whatsoever.)

What could possibly explain such an outcome? That placing a five or six-year-old in a small class will benefit a child for his entire life but keeping him in a small class adds no additional benefit. Is it biological or is there a problem with the studies? I suspect the latter.

As Hanushek notes, the source data from the Tennessee STAR project has never been released. Nor has the experiment ever been repeated, despite the tens of billions of dollars states are now spending on class reductions. (page 33)

Still, how does one explain that STAR and SAGE show gains after the first year that neither grow nor diminish in later years, regardless of later class sizes?

I believe the answer lies in student selection. In 2000, Steven Levitt, noted author of Freakonomics, researched the effect of school choice on student outcomes in Chicago. The initial data suggested that students, overall, performed better in charter schools. However, the charter schools were oversubscribed so many students who had applied were unable to attend. How did they do? Just as well as their peers who got admitted. According to Levitt, the higher performance at the charter schools wasn’t a reflection of the schools but a reflection of their student bodies; students who wanted to go to charter schools did better.

I believe we see the same scenario in the STAR and SAGE data. SAGE students were not randomly selected so students admitted to the smaller classes had a higher likelihood of coming from families that pushed for a better education. In STAR, “there is some evidence that students assigned to large classes switched to small ones, and there was considerable attrition (of the initial experimental group less than half remained for all four years).” (Brewer, 2005, page 6) Moving a “good” student to a small class widens the achievement gap by raising the small class’s average and lowering the large class’s average. As for having an attrition rate over 50%, undoubtedly some of it was caused by parents who did not want their children being kept in large classes for the sake of science and, on average, likely represented higher performing students.

Though pre-k students can’t be properly tested, students who did not attend kindergarten could have been tested at the beginning of first grade to establish a baseline but weren’t.

Again, data analyses are very difficult and often unreliable without access to the initial data or the ability to replicate the experiment.

There’s other research that also raise questions about the STAR and SAGE findings.

Following California’s reform, the CSR Research Consortium was established to review the data and make policy recommendations. “Our analyses of the relationship of CSR to student achievement was inconclusive” (page 9) and the “results of our evaluations, a changing state policy context, and new class size reduction research in other states—all of these provide justification for reexamining California’s current class size reduction policy.” (page 70)

According to Brewer, “Gains in student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics have been found, although they are typically very small, on the order of one twentieth to one tenth of a standard deviation difference in third grade between small and large classes, and are the same for all types of student.” (page 9)

Unfortunately, data on class sizes is very limited because the information is normally not collected by the states. Without it, researchers are forced to rely upon pupil-teacher ratios which are less reliable. For example, a special education teacher would reduce the pupil-teacher ratio without reducing the class size. Still, most researchers have found that, as pupil-teacher ratios drop, so do class sizes.

Hanushek reviewed 277 case studies involving pupil-teacher ratios and found 15% were positive, 13% were negative, and the rest were in the middle, strongly suggesting there is no relationship between pupil-teacher ratios and student performance. (page 23) When looking at studies that were restricted to a single state (so that differing state polices don’t distort the results), only one study out of 23 found a positive result. (page 25)

Nor is there any correlation between a country’s pupil-teacher ratio and academic performance. Japanese classes are much larger than America’s but perform better. (page 21)

Another point to remember is that class sizes have been dropping for decades without any noticeable improvement in education. From 1950-1994, the pupil to teacher ratio has dropped 35% and much of that is likely the result of smaller class sizes. (page 5)

Lastly, in response to our original question, is it cost effective, every study I’ve seen, from Harris and Plank (2000) to Breyer (2005) to Ilon (2006) to Yeh (2007) says no, that there are cheaper methods to obtaining the same results, specifically the 0.2 standard deviation improvement predicted by STAR and SAGE.

Those findings would be especially true in our school district. According to last year’s financial audit, our elementary schools are at full capacity. (page 132) Reducing class sizes would likely require additional construction.

I’m aware class size reductions are very popular but, in my opinion, they’re expensive, of dubious value, and not an appropriate use of limited school resources. >>> Read more!


Anonymous said...

You write, "Teachers love them because the classes are easier to manage and smaller classes equal more teachers." Have you ever been in a classroom? The Behaviorally Disabled class is one of, if not the, smallest classes in a school and is nearly impossible to mangage. Teachers don't love small classes because they are easier to manage and because it requires more teachers; they love small classes because it provides more opportunities for one-on-one attention to be given to each child. As a parent who supported you at the onset of your crusade in Matawan, I've grown tired of your rants. Put your money where your mouth is and enroll your kids in the school district - maybe then you'll have some credibility back. Until then, I'll expect your usual anti-teacher rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above anonymous. Of course you can find evidence to support larger class sizes. But what does common sense and experience say. You, Aberdeener, have never had a child in one of those overcrowded out of control classrooms. I have and, therefore, I support small class sizes where possible. I wonder how many Matawan/Aberdeen Parents agree with me. You scare me with your opinions. Your one term commitment is looking good to me.

Anonymous said...

In paragraph 14..."I believe the answer lies in student selection." I believe the answer lies in study selection! If your blog had audio, I'd post the dueling banjo music from Deliverance to illustrate dueling studies. We can all find studies to back our pet positions. But common sense and my knowledge of children tells me that in smaller classrooms, quicker and more concentrated learning is possible, just for the simple reason that the kid's attentions are more focused and behavior is more easily controlled and their deviancy from the task at hand detected! Whatever their ages!

Anonymous said...

I just crack up every time I read or hear about class size reduction. I remember the class sizes during my years (grad:1979)which ranged anywhere from 18-25, never mind the math team classes which probably had about 100 kids and 4 teachers. We never had teacher aides, except in math my junior and senior year, but the teachers in the team class were reduced. Yes, I can agree, the smaller the class size, ther more attention a child can get but I can say for the most part, I think my Class did just fine as well as Classes before me and after me. My kids now in HS and MS. I profess to them to work hard at school and at home. I always did and turned out just fine as most others did also. We can find every excuse in the book for the failure of some and when the class sizes are reduced to 10-15, what will be the excuse after that? When someone was unruly during my scooling, they were sent to detention or to the principles office. Nowadays, the are diagnosed as something must be wrong with them. Yes, I think larger class sizes may be more difficult to learn in but the teachers need to take responsibility also and teach the old fashioned way and be strong in the classroom as a teacher and stop trying to make friends. Be stern and you will have your students respect and the children will learn. Let's stop the excuses and put responsibility for each and every party involved, teachers, students and parents.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener, So will you be making a motion for larger class sizes? What about todays news about NJ teacher salaries going up $400 million in one year. How about a motion to freeze salaries for one year? What ever happen to your idea to hire all non union teachers?

Aberdeener said...

No one in the administration has recommended we increase or decrease class size. I'm simply expressing my opinion that we should not be spending any money to further reduce class sizes.

All teachers are automatically represented by the union. However, I still believe it would be a good idea to run a certification program for semi-retired professionals and hire them for after-school programs in addition to our staff.

At the moment, I'm still working on getting my district goals adopted by the board.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, are you saying your main emphasis on the school board is currently trying to get the rest of the board to adopt goals for which you could not even get someone else to second?

Sounds like a complete waste of time to me. Perhaps you should try focusing on goals others will support and not press goals which were clearly dead on arrival.

Don't waste our time and money!

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener, your opinion is based, once again, on somebody that has never had a child in ANY school system, public or private. You are not an expert on everything.

Aberdeener said...

Do people really believe that juvenile attacks are going to sway anybody's opinion? Or do they find venting to be therapeutic? If the latter, I'm glad to be of service. :)

Anonymous said...

Do you find it theraputic to label anyone with the audacity to disagree with you as an attacker?

Aberdeener said...

1st Anon - "I've grown tired of your rants"

2nd Anon - "Your one term commitment is looking good to me."

3rd Anon - "We can all find studies to back our pet positions."

6th Anon - "Don't waste our time and money!"

7th Anon - "You are not an expert on everything."

Sure sounds like I'm being attacked :)

Anonymous said...

I too agree that to much emphasis has been put on class size in this district and once again with no sustainable provable positive results. So what is going to be done about it? Nothing. The frustration comes from the boards inability to act on anything. You put up ideas yet not one person will second it to even start a discussion. Some watered down excuse will come from board leadership and nothing will get done. So much for pushing for something to get done. Will never happen with this bunch of windbags.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeener -

If the comments you just labeled as "attacks" are what you view as an attack, then, based on your comments over the years, you must be the king of attackers.

To me, the comments you listed, when compared to ones you've made in the past, are lighthearted at best and stem more from a difference of opinion with you than anything else.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone saying they don't support you because: 1) you are attempting to make rules which won't apply to your own children and 2) you are spending time on the board pushing positions which all the other members have already told you they don't support.

Please grow a backbone! Based upon the way you have acted over the years, we all thought you were much tougher than this. Looks like we were wrong.

You can apparently dish it out plenty, but when you are served your own meal, all you do is cry "attack." Unbelievable!

Aberdeen Whispers said...

anyone go to the town meeting last night?? if so - anything worth reporting??

Diana said...

I can tell you comments that I have heard from students in the district. My experience is with the older children, grades 6 and up.

The students with ESL classes say they enjoy small class size.

The students with learning problems say they enjoy small class size.

Advanced students in both middle school and high school don't seem to mind large class size in history, math, band, etc. as long as they are with other students of like mind and study skills.

Students with technical classes, such as digital photography, computers, foreign language, appreciate a medium class size (small enough to get the teachers attention, but large enough to work in teams...there is such a thing as too much attention.)

Students with special needs in elementary sometimes get the benefit of one-on-one instruction. This is ok for short spans of time but is very intensive for both student and teacher.

The students in the special classes based on disciplinary challenges understand why there are so few students in their class (often 4) but do not appreciate the unchallenging nature of it. They tend to feel like they are in behavioral boot camp. That the work may be repetitive or boring in nature is "paying their dues" to earn a place in a mainstream class environment. Granted I am a substitute teacher, but even I get tired of handing out the same essay on whether students should wear school uniforms over and over to the same children. They seem to bear it with good grace. I trust that the lessions done with their regular teachers is more inspiring.

When it comes to grades K-3, it is important to remember that many children are coming from pre-K or daycare situations where the student-teacher ration was 7:1 or 10:1. Just remember, that most students can probably work well with larger classes if they get their "share" of attention. But what is enough attention? Johnny may need 5 times the attention of Stevie not specifically for academics, but for social engagement in the classroom experience. If the teacher gives all students the same exact amount of time is that fair?

And the worse possible off-shoot of improper class size, is that we will have students in the higher grades who cannot read, do not want to read in front of others, and because of class size, they are allowed to be passed over. AND the situation is made further complicated when the student is promoted upon expressions of minimal competence, in order not to demoralize them or cause them to fall out of social sync with their birth cohorts.

So class size as a policy? Maybe not so good. But beware that ANY policy based approach to teaching students like they were commodities is not in the best interest from either Johnny or Stevie's point of view.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Diana, your comments seem to suggest differentiation, which is a current trend in teaching. Good observations from the front line.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #4

You said:

"Yes, I think larger class sizes may be more difficult to learn in but the teachers need to take responsibility also and teach the old fashioned way and be strong in the classroom as a teacher and stop trying to make friends. Be stern and you will have your students respect and the children will learn. Let's stop the excuses and put responsibility for each and every party involved, teachers, students and parents."

I am a teacher in the Toms River School district and I can tell you one thing- if students do not respect their parents, they will not respect their teachers.

I cannot count the number times I have heard kids down there or even at events up here, call their parents DEMANDING a ride or questioning every decision made.

We can all say that parenting has changed and so has respect for adults. SO if a kid does not listen to a parent like any of us would have when we were younger, who is to say that kids today would listen to a teacher?

In fact, I have had parents lie for their kids and even defend cursing a teacher out - called it anger management and self expressionism.

So I will side with smaller class sizes as it does promote a better teacher to student learning experience and will be easier to control those who are out of control at home.

By the way, why does MOST EVERY college boast their professor to student ratio as being low? There must be something to it.

Aberdeener said...

Like I said, small classes are very popular but I don't think there's a single peer-reviewed study that suggests it's a cost effective means to improve education.

Anonymous said...

Aberdeen Whispers, if you want to start a blog and get info show up to the meeting yourself. This is part of the problem with this society, you are going to get info second hand. The info loses some vaildity when you do that, just listen to some of these idiots on here you make up info. Get the facts yourself, next council meeting is September 1st at 7:00pm.

Aberdeen Whispers said...

out of town on vacation this week

Anonymous said...

So, TR Teacher, are you saying that the smaller class size will be easier to deal with because the kids don't respect their parents and therefore don't respect the teachers. Yes, I think the respect should be started at home and while the difference in generations is obvious the way that we respected our parents and teachers, it's time the kids learn this. Let's stoip the snowball from getting bigger. Opting for smaller class sizes is not the solution. You may think it is from being a teacher but I know from my experience also that my Class did quite well and is doing quite well now. And for the parents that expect their kid to get a free ride and lie for their kids, and I as well know it happens, their kids will amount to not much and will probably be living with them until they're 50 years old. Class size is not the problem and not the answer and I think we can both agree that the respect is the issue. Let's not take the easy way out as this generation likes to do and use a little "tough love" to gain the respect that the teachers warrant and deserve and in the long run, be a better learning experience for the kids.

Anonymous said...

Well, above poster, how does larger class sizes help our students? How does it stop a the snowball effect?

Anonymous said...

At one time the board of ed was not ethical and allowed a board members wife to get hired while that board member was on the board. Now that same board members wife is going from part time to full time. That was wrong at the time and now this move is wrong. You promised a new ethical standard when you got on the board and this should not be allowed under any circumstance. What was done in the past can not be done over or reversed, but giving a full time job to a board members wife is unethical.

Anonymous said...

JD's wife?

Aberdeener said...

I see it on the agenda. Thanks for the heads up. I'll look into it and get back to you.

Anonymous said...

To the poster questioning larger class sizes helping our students, is it your contention that class sizes be around 5, 10, 15 or what. Does it matter or if the teacher is effective in their teaching and has the respect of the students during the class, they will learn. The excuse of having a difficult time learning because of the class size is just that, an excuse. Again, when I was in school, if there was difficulty, that person would seek extra help. If the class was having a difficult time, the teacher would then spend extra time on the subject at hand. Why do you think a teacher can be more understood by a classroom of 15 with 2 disruptive students than a classroom of 25 respectful students wanting to learn. STOP making excuses or actually believing the excuses.

Anonymous said...

He should immediately resign if he wishes his wife to have a full time job in the district of the board he is on. This is outrageous that she would work for the same people he may have to make decisions on. What the hell is O'Malley thinking to even allow this on the agenda. If she gets the job and he resigns that would still look somewhat unethical, but this is unthinkable. What balls!

Anonymous said...

Did JD vote on O'Mallley's increase? How about his wife's principal's tenure? Now his wife gets a recommendation for full time employment? This gives a strong appearance of nepotism.

Hold the Pickle said...


Your point is that smaller class size in grades K-3 is not cost effective. You state there are other methods to achieve the same results that smaller class sizes achieve.

What are those methods?

How cost effective are they?

How long will it take to see results from these methods?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these methods?

Will you be looking into these methods as thoroughly as you did class size?

Anonymous said...

This looks like a payback for the strong support for the superintendent and his raise. Have no fear Mr. Warren will take care of the obvious conflict. We all know how he feels about board members and jobs in the district and will never support this. Very disappointed in Donaghues nerve to even try and pull this off from a board that promised that ethical standards would change. This stinks and a hint of a payback should not even be considered.

Anonymous said...

Loyality for the raise....?

Anonymous said...

Don't kid yourselves. Joey's wordy statement supporting the vote to give the full time job to a Board member's wife will soon be forthcoming. He is transcribing it into jibberish as you read this. He will avoid using the word "grandfathered" as to not sound too much like BARZA.

Anonymous said...

You don't support this hiring, do you?

Aberdeener said...

As much as I love Gerry and am certain neither he, his wife, nor Dr. O'Malley did anything inappropriate, and even though the appointment is entirely legal, I believe it does violate the spirit of the nepotism policy and I can't support exceptions.

Aberdeener said...


Everyone agrees the biggest factor in the classroom is the teacher and the cost effective tools are recruitment and training. I would add incentives as well.

Dr. O'Malley has already begun looking into new recruitment programs and I will be looking in that direction as well.

Anonymous said...

The premise of this subject is misstated. The goal should be optimal class sizes.I would imagine that empirical data shows that there is a benefit to having a class large enough to allow for a diversity of student/teacher student/student interaction and a point at which the class size limits any personal attention for students.

I've always found that class sizes are appropriate in the Aberdeen/Matawan district. I've heard of other districts that have almost 30 children in K-3 classes - which I would think is out of balance with optimal teaching conditions.

The problem with some postings on this blog is that questions are often phrased as pro-child/teacher vs. pro-savings. In order to appreciate public education you have to accept that education is a public good and not a necessary evil. Too many people who post here do not get that.

Anonymous said...

"Aberdeener said...

As much as I love Gerry ..."

I assume you mean brotherly love, although one should not assume and not that there would be anything wrong with it.

Anonymous said...

Will the hiring still be on the agenda for the next meeting? If it is on the agenda that means that others on the board will support it.

Anonymous said...

of course Larry and Curley will support Gerry's Wife because he has been a good soldier for them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but what will Moe do?

Anonymous said...


What was the result of the vote for the board members wife looking for a full time position?

Aberdeener said...

The vote will be at the next meeting. Mr. Donaghue will naturally abstain. Dr. O'Malley said he received notice from both our board attorney and the county commissioner that moving somebody from part-time to full-time was not considered a new appointment. And nobody on the board suspects any foul play.

I'm confident the measure will pass. However, I intend to vote against.

NEWS ALERT said...

News alert

The tiny little legal notice bruied in the Asbury Park Press Newspaper this morning announces that we have a new school board attorney. The hourly rate is approved to be $160.00 per hour. Did the last attorney make less then that? Why is the rate so high? How many of us make $160.00 an hour?

Does our school board get it yet?

No? It is favors as usual. Idiots!

Anonymous said...

And who made the recomendation- the non-tenured principal? Come on now, it does not have to be illegal to smell like the fish market.

As I recall there was an outcry when KZ's kid wanted a summer job.

Anonymous said...

Old news about the fee, it was discussed earlier with the board raises.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the hypocrites? NJoe, JKen, Kims mom, and others who chastised Cathy Z when her child tried for a part time summer position. Now not a word about a person who will receive health benefits from the very school board he serves on. One of the most important jobs of a board member is the negotiation of the union contracts and now this board member will not participate because he can benefit from the decisions his fellow board members will make. He should resign immediately once his family benefits from being on the school board payroll because every decision he makes will be with bias. This is one of the most unethical things a board of education has ever done, legal or not, and not a peep from all the hypocrites who pretend to stand for what is right. At least Joey will do the right thing and should be vocal like he was before being on the board to the others who have no ethics on this issue. What a bunch of phonies who only use ethics when they feel it can benefit them. Of course nobody on the board suspects foul play because they choose to look the other way. This is what is wrong with this town, when people pretend to serve for the good of the public and only serve themselves. This board members family will receive finanical and health benefit gain and it sure looks like payback. The only right thing to do is accept the job and resign or do not accept the job and continue. All the talk about board members in the schools, how about a board members wife. It's just wrong and it can't be defended.

Anonymous said...

It amazing what you can find with a google search


Anonymous said...

Completely off topic, but thanks for the blog info anon. I did check out AberdeenWispers Blog. I wish the blog owner would offer some information on the questions posed.
What I did find interesting was the question: What does the Aberdeen Township Recreation Dept do, they don't run baseball, soccer, basketball, football etc? And the parks are in pretty bad shape.
I have to agree, what do they do?

Anonymous said...

I am off topic too:

Seems fuuny that there is alot of roadwork and side walk work being done the past few months in Aberdeen as THE ELECTION APPROACHES.

Why dont you come over to the other side of town? WE DONT EVEN HAVE SIDEWALKS in some spots but parts of Strathmore are getting repaved and whatever else. Parts of the other side of town have roads that are embarassing.


I see the flyers for the Tag Ticket are going out. Who is running for the Rep.?

J Section Ken said...

Hello "Anonymous"

If you are going to call me a hypocrite, get your facts in order. I never criticized any board member because their child applied for and earned a work-study position. I believe they were exempt from the board's nepotism policy. I never questioned or voted against any child's work-study position while I was a board member. I was on vacation and out of town last year when the issue of Cathy Zavorskas’s daughter came up on the agenda; I did not comment about it.

I am consistent in my principles and spoke out against the recent raises for the administration. I did not attend the last board meeting, so I do not have all of the facts regarding the Gerry Donahue "conflict". When I have all the facts, I will tell you what I think as soon as you reveal who you are. Do we have a deal?

Here is some food for thought:

education board
fragile glass house built around
some members throw rocks

The members with rocks know who they are.

Anonymous said...

Could you comment on this study?


Anonymous said...

"It is clear that variations within the 25 to 35 pupil range are of little consequence, probably because they do not afford much opportunity for differences in either pedagogic style or classroom management techniques. However, very small classes (8 to 15 pupils) may be beneficial, especially for younger children and children with special needs".

B. Nye, L.V. Hedges and S. Konstantopoulos, The long-term effects of small classes: A five-year follow-up of the Tennessee class size experiment, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 21 (1999) (2), pp. 127–14

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Dueling studies!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jSFPygl4jg

Anonymous said...

Ken ,

That mey be true, buty you never spoke out supporting her daughter either. Were you silent on the issue purposely?

J Section Ken said...


Did you speak out? Oh, that's right you are "anonymous", so we would'nt know.

Aberdeen Whispers said...

so if the best science or Math or art teacher in the state is available, but they are a board members brother or son or father or wife - we shouldn't hire them?

Anonymous said...

That is right Aberdeen Whispers because it is the new state law that we must use as policy. Without that type of law we became the one of the most corrupt states in the nation. Of course you could always hire that "best in the state" person if the unpaid board member steps down.

Aberdeener said...

Anon is correct. Both state law and the school nepotism policy prohibit hiring a board member's immediate family.

As you indicate, the policy sometimes incurs a high cost but is considered a necessary defense against the appearance of or actual impropriety.