Isn’t it exciting! Romney is stepping into the classroom to help our failing American students. He is filling every chair with fresh new ideas and creative solutions. Where has he been all of these years? My students would be doing so much better if had come along sooner with the answers to all of our questions. He is beginning his discussion by suggesting the class size reduction is an unnecessary educational mandate that just does not work.
As usual, Romney’s assertion regarding class size reduction was made without reviewing any of the research in this area and without the slightest thought to what the realities are for classroom teachers today. There is no question that students do better in classrooms where there are less than twenty-five students. Long term studies in many states including Tennessee, Wisconsin, and New York suggest that reducing class size to twenty or less students can have a very positive impact on students. Furthermore, African-American and poor students appear to benefit the most from these programs. As a teacher in the inner city for most of my career, I believe that reducing class size is one of the most promising classroom strategies in my twenty-seven years in education. In a class of twenty or less, I can spend time working with my students in a small group setting or on an individual basis at least once or twice a day. In addition, I can reach out to parents because there aren’t an extraordinary amount of students in my class. In order for a teacher to truly reach students, that teacher must have the ability to get to know each student as an individual with unique needs and abilities. Such a task is difficult to impossible in a crowded room of thirty to forty children. Mr. Romney needs to do the math and use simple common sense.
Mitt Romney is no different than most politicians, including Arne Duncan. Out of touch and unwilling to look at the current research, these individuals are setting our educational agendas based on their own political agendas. I look forward to the day when educators set the educational policy for our nation’s students. Perhaps there will come a day when we can focus on research-based practices in the classroom instead of misrepresentations of the truth that do nothing but harm students throughout our country.