8:00 AM EDT, May 19, 2012
Imagine how my members feel about the latest press release from Baltimore County Public Schools about class size that states, "Baltimore County Public Schools' class sizes compare favorably with state, national averages." The misleading information was not in The Sun, but in that press release. Try and explain that information to the multitude of high school teachers who have over 30 students in their classes ("Crowded classrooms," May 15).
This song has been sung for decades when describing class sizes. Every time an average class size is given, the numbers are skewed. If you have several classes with 30 or more students but still have specialty classes, like Calculus III or Latin IV, your class average will look more favorable. Of course, tell that to the students who are trying to get some questions answered with a class of 30 or more.
And to further add insult to injury, to state there is no empirical data that links student performance to class size is infuriating. We have seen study upon study linking class size to student performance. If children are in smaller class sizes for their school careers, it makes a difference. Why are small class sizes billed as a selling point for some of our most prestigious private schools and colleges?
The teachers applaud The Sun for shining the light on this class size issue. We hope that next year this will begin to be rectified. Our school system proudly proclaims the fact that so many of our high schools have been recognized as top in the nation. It is because of the strength of our teaching staff that we have been able to accomplish this. Unfortunately, one of the outcomes of overwhelming class sizes is teacher burnout. If we continue down this path, our high schools' top recognition will disappear.
Abby Beytin, Towson
The writer is president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.
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