Big Class, Small Class


In November of 2010, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, charged school districts with rethinking their current model. The issue at the heart of educational reform at that time was, of course, finances. Schools were being expected to do more with less money, but Secretary Duncan was optimistic. Duncan stated that as a parent, he would much rather see his own children in a class of 26 taught by a really excellent teacher than in a class of 22 led by a mediocre teacher (Klein). To support his claims, Duncan cited South Korea and Japan, two countries that have large class sizes and outstanding student performance on international benchmarks (Klein).

The debate between large class sizes versus smaller class sizes is not new. A quick Google search reveals criticisms from both sides of the aisle. Advocates for larger class sizes claim that really excellent teachers can still perform with more students in the classroom, and that by having larger class sizes less excellent teachers can be laid off while better teachers can be rewarded for their skills. Those who are opposed to larger class sizes, they suggest, are whining. On the other hand, those who support smaller class sizes argue that teachers cannot give the one-on-one attention that so often makes the difference for students in a larger classroom. This individual attention will necessarily suffer if class sizes continue to increase, and students will suffer as well.

Large classes may not work for every student. (Image Credit: http://www.dartmouthindependent.com/archives/2008/08/surpassed-class.html)

Any parent who has watched their child struggle with homework night after night realizes that some personalized attention can really make a difference. A child who may be too shy to speak up in a class of thirty might fare better with someone walking through a problem with them individually. No matter what side of the class size argument you take, it’s obvious that while some students do not need extra support, some students do. As class sizes grow, one way to help your child continue to succeed is to look into tutoring. Whether it’s peer tutoring offered by the school or hiring a tutor for after-school assistance, your child will learn strategies that work for her, and will be able to take as much time as she needs on difficult areas.

If you have any questions regarding the role tutoring can play in your child’s education, please feel free to contact Tutor Doctor WNY. We are passionate about education for everyone, and believe firmly that one-on-one attention is a great way to supplement educational lessons learned in the classroom. Call us today for a free educational consultation!

Work Cited

Klein, Alyson. “Sec. Duncan: Districts Need to Rethink Class Size, Salary Structure”. Education Week. 17 Nov 2010. Web. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2010/11/sec_duncan_districts_need_to_r.ht

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