Report: Class-Size Reduction Efforts Are Not a Cost-Effective Use of School Resources
The Center for American Progress
Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report that finds that class-size reduction efforts are not a cost-effective use of school resources.
“The False Promise of Class-Size Reduction” by Matthew Chingos shows that class-size regulations constrain school administrators and often are ineffective at raising student achievement.
“When school finances are limited, the cost-benefit test is not ‘Does this policy have any positive effect?’, but rather, ‘Is this policy the most productive use of these educational dollars?’” author Matthew Chingos said. “Rigid across-the-board class-size reduction policies make it impossible for schools to pursue innovative and more cost-effective policies by tying up valuable educational resources.”
The Center also released a complementary report that discusses the limitations of the traditional one-teacher-one-classroom model. “Beyond Classroom Walls: Developing Innovative Work Roles for Teachers” by Julie Kowal and Dana Brinson examines alternative staffing models used by Rocketship Education, a charter school network, and Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.
A number of findings emerged from the research:
Class-size reduction policies use up valuable resources and make it difficult for schools to target resources toward students who need them most.
Rocketship Education re-envisions teachers’ daily routines and their school roles through systems to offload rote tasks, tailored leadership development, and teacher subject specialization.
Fairfax County Schools created Teacher Leadership Development grants that paid teachers for additional leadership responsibilities in areas of greater need.
Implementing new staffing models could require changing class size, certification mandates, and other school practices.
The reports also included several recommendations, including:
Schools should be given flexibility when it comes to setting class sizes.
State and district leaders should redesign job responsibilities to enable great teachers to reach a larger number of students.
When implementing new types of work roles, schools should consider many factors, including the individual strengths and weaknesses of teachers.
Research on class-size policies and staffing innovations is particularly timely as several state legislatures are currently debating changes to class-size requirements that could lead to greater flexibility in teacher allocation.
To read the reports, click here and here.
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