Monday, July 1, 2013

Michigan does not track class sizes - should it?

A recent editorial in Bridge Magazine made the case that Michigan should be tracking class sizes in our schools. 

No.  The state doesn't already track class size.
Are there more kids packed into classrooms today than a decade ago? We have no idea.
Do students in smaller-than-average classrooms do better academically? How about kids in larger than average? We got nothin’.
The Michigan Department of Education is the Fort Knox of data. With just a few clicks, we can tell the number of children of migrant workers who graduated on-time from high school in 2011-12 (41); we can identify the percentage of Hispanic students from Mason High School in 2007-08 who enrolled in community colleges within 16 months of graduation (67 percent); we can even state unequivocally how many Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated Schools students enrolled in Watersmeet Township classes last year through school choice (2).
But Michigan does not keep tabs on the number of students in your child’s classroom. [Bridge Magazine editorial: Isn't class size in our schools important enough to track?, Bridge Magazine, June 23, 2013]
The editorial acknowledges that some believe class size is unimportant.  However, the editorial also notes the very recent statewide study by the Center for Michigan in which 71 percent of Michigan residents polled supported reducing class sizes. 

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