The Basics of Class Size – or – Why Vouchers Won’t Make a Difference

Categories: Education, Politics
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I thought I’d explain a bit how class sizes work for those who might believe that commercial with the oreos the pro-voucher people made.

Last year we had about 108 sixth grade students at our school. With that number we were able to have four sixth grade teachers, meaning there were about 27 students in each class. This year we are down to 100 sixth grade students. That does not mean that we now have four classes of 25 students. Instead it means we have three classes of 33 students.

The number of teachers is not a fixed amount. It is determined by how many students there are in the school. So with fewer students in that grade, we were alloted money for fewer teachers.

And the difference in the number of students wasn’t even that big from last year to this year. And if more sixth graders move into our school, it’s already past the date when we’d hire a new teacher, so the classes will just get bigger.

So when students leave a public school to attend charter or private schools, it does not result in smaller class sizes. It can often result in larger class sizes. The only thing that would reduce class size would be to allocate more money for teachers so that more could be hired.

5 shared thoughts about The Basics of Class Size – or – Why Vouchers Won’t Make a Difference

  1. Mr. Me says:

    I don’t think that the oreo commercial is commenting on class size. They’re only talking about money. They are saying that not ALL the money that the schools get from the taxpayer base goes away with the child whose parents decide to use a voucher. Some of that money stays behind. So they’re not deceptive as far as class size goes.

    Where they are deceptive is in the insinuation that the money stays in the same classroom that the child left. The money stays with the school district and the school district decided where that money goes. What are the chances that the district gives that money to the classroom that the child left? About zero.

    And that’s where your argument about class size comes in. Since there are fewer children in the class, it could mean a larger class size. They’re not going to take this sudden supposed voucher windfall and keep it in the same place. They’re going to redistribute it as they see fit. They’re going to put it where the children ARE, not where the children USED TO BE. That’s the fallacy of the oreo commerical IMO.

  2. admin says:

    They’re talking about money and class size, indicating that if a child leaves, the class size would decrease and so the remaining money would be beneficial to the rest of the class. But you are right, there is nothing to say that the money would stay with the leaving student’s classmates. In fact, it probably wouldn’t. Plus, the child leaving could very easily result in a larger class size, something the Oreo people leave out.

    And then Oreos go stale after a while, just like the money will. And after five years the money that was “left” by the leaving student, will be taken away as well.

  3. Pingback, 12 October 2007 at 8:49 am
    Oreo Cookies and Vouchers | J.M. Bell - and Friends

  4. scott says:

    It’s interesting to me that this is being framed in “money will stay behind” terms. When the subject of vouchers has come up in other states the pivotal issue was not class size or money, but rather the perception that parents now had some choice over where their kids went to school. It usually went something like “the good schools will thrive while the bad schools will suffer” kind of thing.

    I’ve already relegated myself to the reality that when the time comes, I’m just going to pay for private school anyway 😀

  5. admin says:

    Scott, Scott, Scott. The answer is not private schools. I will never put my children in private schools. They are not any better than public schools, research has proven it.


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