Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Washington Policy Center is Lying About Dow Constantine Lying About Class Sizes

This doesn't even pass the sniff test:
In a new T.V. advertisement King County Executive candidate Dow Constantine attacks Washington Policy Center (WPC), claiming WPC’s Policy Guide for Washington State recommends increased class sizes.

Like other claims Constantine makes in the ad, this is false. On page 137, the Policy Guide says:
“Recommendation: Remove restrictive class size requirements and other legal restrictions to allow more flexibility and innovation in spending education dollars. Reducing class sizes has not resulted in improvements in student learning, as education advocates promised. Instead, policymakers should remove legal restrictions which micro-manage schools, and let local principals implement the kind of learning program that works best for their students.”
Washington Policy Center does not recommend increasing class sizes. The Policy Guide presents data showing teacher quality, not class size, is the primary driver of learning excellence for students: “Research consistently shows that placing an effective teacher in the classroom is more important than any other factor, including class size, in raising student academic achievement” (page 138).
"We're not saying to increase class size, we're just saying that maybe the money spent on class size reduction could be spent far better than it is now! Jeez, you people are so sensitive!"

Hey, what else does the WPC say about class size?

Despite increased spending and costly class size reductions, the “achievement gap” between white and minority students on the 4th and 8th grade NAEP reading and math tests from 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007 has not decreased, but has actually increased.
"We're just saying that class size reductions are costly and ineffective, not to get rid of them!"
Remove restrictive class size requirements and other legal restrictions to allow more flexibility and innovation in spending education dollars. Reducing class sizes has not resulted in improvements in student learning, as education advocates promised. Instead, policymakers should remove legal restrictions which micro-manage schools, and let local principals implement the kind of learning program that works best for their students.
"See, here we're just saying to get rid of the class size requirements, not to actually raise class size!"

Then there's good ol' Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center, who can always be found in any conversation about class size arguing the negative.

It's clear what the WPC thinks about class size policies. Stand up for your beliefs and be honest, folks, because the body of work speaks for itself. Saying that you're not in favor of increased class size, while at the same time arguing against policies that lower class size, is intellectually dishonest.

1 Comments:

Blogger Sue Lani said...

I agree it is hair splitting, but I have to come down on the WPC side here. Saying that reduced class sizes have not proven effective in improving student learning really is substantively different than advocating for increased class size.

It seems like a good idea to me to loosen rigid limits (which aren't effective) and allowing individual principals and teachers to decide what will work best for their particular combination of teachers and students (hopefully more effective). The problem as with all such problems is how does the state equitably fund variable situations across the state. It is so much easier to say 1 teacher per N students.

9:27 PM  

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