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Thread: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    We know that Florida's experiment with smaller class sizes has been in existence for over eight years now. Surely some indication of success would be evident over that length of time.

    If small class size is so important, how does anyone in a freshman college civics course with 100 students ever learn anything or pass the course ??
    Smaller classes by themselves don't improve things any more than hiring more employees in any field. Value added is key. What incremental value added is provided from the opportunity to interact with fewer students. What incremental value is brought by additional teachers. The study didn't go into those issues. I can only suspect that the State assumed that smaller class sizes by themselves would yield better returns. But if everything else remained essentially the same or worse, lesser qualified teachers were hired to help bring about the smaller class sizes, opportunities for improvement were squandered.

    In general, if a unit or department or business in a company wants more resources, how those added resources will be deployed and what added gains would be achieved are key questions. The same systematic approach needs to be pursued when one is discussing reducing class sizes. More resources by themselves (and smaller class sizes are, in substance, an issue of added resources: more teachers per student) don't guarantee better results. The study's outcome reaffirms that reality.

    As for the freshman civics course, I would suggest that that could be an example of applying best practices to relevant areas. If, for example, class sizes are to be large, strategies that have been empiracally demonstrated to work in larger settings might be more appropriate. An "inventory" of best practices for a range of situations might afford much greater flexibility and better outcomes. The unfolding era of resource constraints/austerity (federal, state, and local governments) makes identifying and applying effective learning approaches increasingly urgent.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Smaller classes by themselves don't improve things any more than hiring more employees in any field. Value added is key. What incremental value added is provided from the opportunity to interact with fewer students. What incremental value is brought by additional teachers. The study didn't go into those issues. I can only suspect that the State assumed that smaller class sizes by themselves would yield better returns. But if everything else remained essentially the same or worse, lesser qualified teachers were hired to help bring about the smaller class sizes, opportunities for improvement were squandered.

    In general, if a unit or department or business in a company wants more resources, how those added resources will be deployed and what added gains would be achieved are key questions. The same systematic approach needs to be pursued when one is discussing reducing class sizes. More resources by themselves (and smaller class sizes are, in substance, an issue of added resources: more teachers per student) don't guarantee better results. The study's outcome reaffirms that reality.

    As for the freshman civics course, I would suggest that that could be an example of applying best practices to relevant areas. If, for example, class sizes are to be large, strategies that have been empiracally demonstrated to work in larger settings might be more appropriate. An "inventory" of best practices for a range of situations might afford much greater flexibility and better outcomes. The unfolding era of resource constraints/austerity (federal, state, and local governments) makes identifying and applying effective learning approaches increasingly urgent.
    You could very well be right, but you have not shown any evidence to support your position. We don't know if Florida teachers modified their teaching strategies for smaller classes, or what other adjustments might have been made.

    Speculation makes for wonderful conversations over cocktails, but hardly proves anything in the real world or justifies the billions of dollars Florida spent on this experiment.

    • "The America Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." -- Alexis de Tocqueville





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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    Class size is a red herring used by the teachers' union to increase the number of teachers and swell union coffers. A recent Harvard study of mandated smaller class size in Florida dispells this untruth:



    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/...03_Chingos.pdf

    As you can see, the study also found that ethnic, racial groups, economically advantaged, as well as economically disadvantaged students were not affected by class size.

    Florida has wasted $4 billion a year on this boondoggle.
    Your study says this

    The National Assessment of Educational Progress
    (NAEP) scores of students in fourth grade increased dramatically over the last decade, with
    Florida surpassing the national average in reading in 2003 and in math in 2005. Between 1996
    and 2009, fourth-grade math scores increased by 0.84 standard deviations, while fourth-grade
    8 Core classes, which include all subjects areas affected by the CSR mandate, include language arts/reading, math,
    science, social studies, foreign languages, self-contained, special education, and English for speakers of other
    languages.
    9 Using the EDW student course files, I calculate the average size of the core classes attended by each student
    (weighting each class by the number of minutes per week the student spent in the class and dropping as outliers
    classes with fewer than five or more than 40 students). These data indicate that statewide average class size in
    grades four to eight fell by 5.3 students from 2003 to 2009 (the change in the corresponding official FLDOE
    statistics, which are calculated using a modestly different formula, for this period is 5.6). This decrease was smaller
    for special education students, who experienced an average decrease of 3.4 (from 20.6 to 17.2), as compared to 5.7
    (from 26.0 to 20.3) for regular education students. Students eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program
    experienced an average decrease of 5.2 (from 24.7 to 19.5), as compared to 5.6 (from 26.2 to 20.6) among ineligible
    students. The decreases for black, Hispanic, and white students were 5.1, 6.4, and 5.2, respectively.
    10 Average class size in all non-core classes in grades six to eight (I exclude grades four and five because of the
    prevalence of self-contained classrooms) fell from 26.0 in 2003 to 24.0 in 2009, a decrease of 2.0. Average class
    size in art and music classes fell by 2.1. Average class size in core classes in these grades fell by 5.4.
    6
    reading scores increased by 0.39 standard deviations between 1998 and 2009. Over the same
    time periods, the NAEP scores of eighth-grade students in math and reading increased by 0.39
    and 0.26 standard deviations, respectively. Scores on Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test
    (FCAT) posted similarly large increases over this period.11
    Last edited by haymarket; 03-03-11 at 11:57 AM.
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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    Class size is a red herring used by the teachers' union to increase the number of teachers and swell union coffers. A recent Harvard study of mandated smaller class size in Florida dispells this untruth:



    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/...03_Chingos.pdf

    As you can see, the study also found that ethnic, racial groups, economically advantaged, as well as economically disadvantaged students were not affected by class size.

    Florida has wasted $4 billion a year on this boondoggle.
    I can put up more studies and experiments that show that smaller class size is a benefit:

    1. Jeremy D. Finn

    1.
    State University of New York at Buffalo

    1. Charles M. Achilles

    1.
    University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Abstract

    "A large-scale experiment is described in which kindergarten students and teachers were randomly assigned to small and large classes within each participating school. Students remained in these classes for 2 years. At the end of each grade they were measured in reading and mathematics by standardized and curriculum-based tests. The results are definitive: (a) a significant benefit accrues to students in reduced-size classes in both subject areas and (b) there is evidence that minority students in particular benefit from the smaller class environment, especially when curriculum-based tests are used as the learning criteria. A longitudinal analysis of a portion of the sample indicated that students in small classes outperform their peers in kindergarten classes of regular size and also gain more in reading outcomes during the second year. The question of why these effects are realized remains largely unanswered, but in light of these findings, is particularly important to pursue."

    Answers and Questions About Class Size: A Statewide Experiment
    Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children. ~ Ancient American Indian Proverb

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Class sizes matters. There should not be much disagreement on that.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    We don't know if Florida teachers modified their teaching strategies for smaller classes, or what other adjustments might have been made.
    That was precisely my point. Critical information is lacking. I provided two examples of information that would be required to better understand what happened. My list is not all-inclusive.

    The point is that without critical information that was beyond the scope of the study, there is a lot of uncertainty with respect to the conclusion. Did the effort fail because smaller class sizes are irrelevant? Or did the effort fail because other factors were involved. The answer is not known. I've given my hypothesis, but it is just a hypothesis. Putting aside the hypothesis, one just knows that the Florida experiment was not successful. One cannot conclude that class sizes don't matter, until other candidate variables for the outcome are tested. In the absence of such testing, the conclusion that class sizes don't matter is, itself, speculative.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    That was precisely my point. Critical information is lacking. I provided two examples of information that would be required to better understand what happened. My list is not all-inclusive.

    The point is that without critical information that was beyond the scope of the study, there is a lot of uncertainty with respect to the conclusion. Did the effort fail because smaller class sizes are irrelevant? Or did the effort fail because other factors were involved. The answer is not known. I've given my hypothesis, but it is just a hypothesis. Putting aside the hypothesis, one just knows that the Florida experiment was not successful. One cannot conclude that class sizes don't matter, until other candidate variables for the outcome are tested. In the absence of such testing, the conclusion that class sizes don't matter is, itself, speculative.
    Go back and read the details of the study beyond the intorductory paragraph. It clearly states good and healthy increases in student performance.

    again

    The National Assessment of Educational Progress
    (NAEP) scores of students in fourth grade increased dramatically over the last decade, with
    Florida surpassing the national average in reading in 2003 and in math in 2005. Between 1996
    and 2009, fourth-grade math scores increased by 0.84 standard deviations, while fourth-grade
    8 Core classes, which include all subjects areas affected by the CSR mandate, include language arts/reading, math,
    science, social studies, foreign languages, self-contained, special education, and English for speakers of other
    languages.
    9 Using the EDW student course files, I calculate the average size of the core classes attended by each student
    (weighting each class by the number of minutes per week the student spent in the class and dropping as outliers
    classes with fewer than five or more than 40 students). These data indicate that statewide average class size in
    grades four to eight fell by 5.3 students from 2003 to 2009 (the change in the corresponding official FLDOE
    statistics, which are calculated using a modestly different formula, for this period is 5.6). This decrease was smaller
    for special education students, who experienced an average decrease of 3.4 (from 20.6 to 17.2), as compared to 5.7
    (from 26.0 to 20.3) for regular education students. Students eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program
    experienced an average decrease of 5.2 (from 24.7 to 19.5), as compared to 5.6 (from 26.2 to 20.6) among ineligible
    students. The decreases for black, Hispanic, and white students were 5.1, 6.4, and 5.2, respectively.
    10 Average class size in all non-core classes in grades six to eight (I exclude grades four and five because of the
    prevalence of self-contained classrooms) fell from 26.0 in 2003 to 24.0 in 2009, a decrease of 2.0. Average class
    size in art and music classes fell by 2.1. Average class size in core classes in these grades fell by 5.4.
    6
    reading scores increased by 0.39 standard deviations between 1998 and 2009. Over the same
    time periods, the NAEP scores of eighth-grade students in math and reading increased by 0.39
    and 0.26 standard deviations, respectively. Scores on Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test
    (FCAT) posted similarly large increases over this period.11
    __________________________________________________ _
    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    Go back and read the details of the study beyond the intorductory paragraph. It clearly states good and healthy increases in student performance.
    Yes, but if you read the rest of the study, it cannot attribute those gains to the class-size mandate. Many other factors were in play. In part, the report notes:

    Student achievement in Florida was increasing during the years both prior to and following the introduction of CSR in 2004. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores of students in fourth grade increased dramatically over the last decade, with Florida surpassing the national average in reading in 2003 and in math in 2005. Between 1996 and 2009, fourth-grade math scores increased by 0.84 standard deviations, while fourth-grade reading scores increased by 0.39 standard deviations between 1998 and 2009. Over the same time periods, the NAEP scores of eighth-grade students in math and reading increased by 0.39 and 0.26 standard deviations, respectively. Scores on Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) posted similarly large increases over this period.11

    ]A naïve approach to estimating the effect of CSR would be to examine whether the rate of increase in student achievement accelerated following the introduction of CSR, but this method would be misleading because CSR was not the only major new policy in Florida’s school system during this time period. First, the A-Plus Accountability and School Choice Program began assigning letter grades (and related consequences) to schools in 1999, and the formula used to calculate school grades changed substantially in 2002 to take into account student testscore gains in addition to levels. Second, several choice programs were introduced: a growing number of charter schools, the Opportunity Scholarships Program (which ended in 2006), the McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program, and the Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Finally, beginning in 2002 the “Just Read, Florida!” program provided funding for reading coaches, diagnostic assessments for districts, and training for educators and parents.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Catawba View Post
    You seem to be confusing the socio-economic obstacles to learning with teacher's abilities. The only reason private schools have higher test scores is because they have a select student population and small student to teacher ratio. You put every student in a charter schools and add in corporate profit, your test scores would be the same or lower because you are going to attract less qualified teachers, and the cost would still be higher.
    Then why don't the statistics back up your claims? My grandfather came from an extremely poor family and he went to a fine private school that was connected to his church. The school was located in a very poor neighborhood. How do you explain the great success of his private school, and thousands like it, if the kids are facing the same socio-economic obstacles of which you referenced?

    The bottom line with education is that it must allow for freedom of choice and open enrollment. Your zip code and your local government must not dictate where you send your child for learning. Education must be decentralized and driven from the bottom up. Private school must not be reserved for only the wealthiest of Americans.

    While trucking is an honorable profession but it does not require a college education. What do you think would be a fair compensation package for someone with 4 to 8 years of college?
    Again with the education! You seem to think that a degree entitles you to a job. It doesn't. It doesn't automatically entitle you to a job that pays higher than a garbage man. Those decisions rest on the demand and supply of labor.

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    Re: Walker takes broad swipe at public employee unions

    Just oe thing, for every private school you mention that worked, you can find one that didn;t if yoyu look. I know one in Mississippi that did not work. But always remember a private school is under no obligation to take anyone. Even if they are not selective based on priledge or academic success, they can still say no in terms of number or to displine problems or any number of problems the public school MUST take.

    AUSTAN GOOLSBEE: I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.

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