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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The class size amendment sure gets no respect in Florida

The Florida Tax Watch is just the latest group to take aim at the class size amendment.  The chamber of commerce as well as Gary Chartrand and Jeb Bush have also criticized it saying there is no evidence that says it works and that the money would be better spent elsewhere.

First there is evidence that says smaller classes work, there is however no evidence that says, charters, vouchers, merit pay and standardized tests, their reforms of choice lead to better education outcomes and there is even evidence that says merit pay does not work. Furthermore they are being disingenuous saying the money would be better spent elsewhere. If the money wasn’t being spent on smaller class sizes the money would not be spent on education at all.

The really maddening thing though is the same people that criticize the class size amendment are the same people that point to Bush’s A-F accountability system as why things have improved in Florida. They however don’t like to point out that things like graduation rates have improved dramatically all around the country including in states that haven’t tried to privatize their schools with charters and vouchers and who haven’t developed an A-F grading system or failed kids based on how they do on standardized tests. I saying that Bush’s reforms have held us back has as much validity as them saying they have led to our successes. In short there is no way to know.

Regardless what Bush, Chartrand, et al. refuse to acknowledge is that most of the gains Florida have coincided with the citizen driven class size amendment, the same amendment that they and the Florida legislature have constantly attacked.

Finally I would just like to add, I would be a better teacher if only I had five more students said no teacher ever.

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