Ramblings on Class Size

This was sent to me by a teacher who objected to Bill Gates’ opinions on class sizes in schools.  

 Bill Gates has recently been quoted as saying, “”U.S. schools have almost twice as many teachers per student as they did in 1960.” I have to wonder what Bill bases this on. I’m guessing it’s not the Kent School District. Our contract allows Kindergarten to third grade to reach 29 students and 4th to 6th grade to reach 32. My husband was recently working on some old school pictures. Here’s what we saw –

1960 – 1st grade – 31 students                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1961 – 2nd grade – 31 students                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1962 – 3rd grade – 28 students                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1963 – 4th grade – 28 students                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1964 – 5th grade – 30 students                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1965 – 6th grade – 27 students

Interestingly, the kindergarten at my school has 27 students this year.

 So maybe Bill’s problem is that in 1975 a federal law was passed that provides for a free and appropriate public education for all students. Prior to this law many students now in special education programs could not attend public schools. Others dropped out after they had been held back repeatedly. In Kent, approximately 10% of the teachers are special education teachers.

 We also have ELL teachers in Kent and 15% of the students in Kent are in ELL programs. Many more have exited formal ELL programs, but are still building their skills in English.

 I often wonder what makes Bill Gates an “expert” on education. I wonder how he’d do teaching for a week in a public school classroom.


One Response to “Ramblings on Class Size”

  1. kenteducationassociation Says:

    Danny Westneat from the Seattle Times also took issue with Mr. Gates’ thoughts on class sizes in public schools. I don’t always agree with Danny, but this time, he was right on. Here’s the link to his story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/dannywestneat/2014437975_danny09.html

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