2.The issue is
both a political and educational one, with questions about ____________.
education reforms make as much sense on a gut level as giving teachers what?
4.The idea is
popular with parents and politicians alike — at least _______ states have
carried out some kind of class-size reduction in the past 15 years — and the
Legislature in Washington has pledged to reduce average class sizes in
kindergarten through third grade to ______ students by the fall of 2017.
1351 on the Nov. 4 ballot would go even further.What will it do for K-12 classrooms, if passed?
the latest federal data based on teacher surveys, the average class size is
_____ in the state’s elementary schools and _______ in secondary schools.
more than four decades of research in the U.S. and abroad, the effects of this
simple idea about how to raise ___________________________________have been hard to isolate and measure, leading to
academic squabbles over its value.
generally agree that lower class sizes, at least in the earliest grades, are
linked to what?
9.What do they
disagree on? Approximately how much will it cost our state?
(Student Teacher Achievement Ratio) was conducted in Tennessee between 1985 and
1989 and involved more than 1,200 teachers and almost 12,000 students, according
to Jeremy Finn, of the University at Buffalo (State University of New York), a
statistician who helped set up the experiment and publish its results.Why are the results from Project STAR so important?
the SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee in Education) program, smaller classes
worked best when teachers received what?
Class Discussion Questions and Essay Prompts:
·How many students are in each of your classes?
·Do you think you would achieve more in a smaller
class?Why or why not?
·What other factors will help increase student
achievement, besides lowering class size?
In recent years, researchers have been trying to figure out why smaller
class size works, how it works and who benefits most. The most obvious
explanation for why reducing class size works — that teachers give students
better, more tailored instruction in smaller classes — probably isn’t the reason
why achievement goes up.
class sizes can have the potential to make a big difference for students only if
teachers get the training and administrative support to take advantage of the
situation by changing how they teach and how they interact with parents.
Do you agree or disagree with the above statement?Do some teachers need to change the way they teach their students?Do they interact with parents?Is that interaction positive?
In 2003, Finn co-authored a paper that identified a gaping hole in the
“Despite the many studies that show positive effects, research has yet to
come up with a consistent, integrated explanation for the gains attributable to
reduced class size,” according to the paper, published in the journal Review of
The most intuitively satisfying explanation — that teachers give students
more individualized instruction in smaller classrooms — didn’t pan out when
researchers observed what actually happened in smaller classes.
Several studies have found that while teachers may have more interactions
with students, they tend to teach the same way they always have, regardless of
the size of the class.Finn and his
colleagues proposed a different explanation, which they believe better fit the
evidence from the studies and also jibed with classroom observations:
Students behave better and participate more often when they can’t hide in the
back of the classroom.
“Most people I talk to predict that the disruptive kids are the worst,
but they’re not. The inattentive, withdrawn kids are by far and away poorer
students than all the others,” Finn said. “If you want to get lost in the back
corner, whether you’re disruptive or not ... you disconnect yourself from any
instruction at all.”
What do you think about Finn’s findings?Have you disconnected from learning at one point in your learning?Why or why not?Is this the
main reason for some students continuing to fall farther and farther behind?
“Class-size reduction alone will only get fewer children in a class.It doesn’t translate directly to a change in achievement.”Taking your personal experience in our education system along with the
studies and research that have been done on smaller class sizes, would you vote
for or against Initiative 1351?
What other factors determine student success in classrooms?
Newspaper-related CBA activity:U.S.
How the United States government interacts with the world affects people across
the globe.Analyze and evaluate the
causes and effects of US foreign policy on people in the United States and
across the world.
Using The Seattle Times e-edition, find an article from this week that deals
with world politics or foreign policy.
What are the main points of view from someone living in that particular country?How is that “view” similar and different than your own opinion, regarding
the specific issue the article is discussing?
·Why is it important to
study and learn about foreign policy?How does it help you understand the world we live in, using current
issues and events?
Civic Minds in The Seattle Times is posted to the Web on Friday. Please share
the NIE program with other teachers. To sign-up for the electronic edition of
the newspaper please call 206/652-6290 or toll-free 1-888/775-2655.