Editorial: Size matters, but excellence even more so
New Zealand Herald
(17 May 2012)
While it acknowledges that class size matters, the New Zealand government has adopted the position that the quality of teaching is more important. Leveraging on the research findings of the Grattan Institute report that raising teacher quality is more effective than reducing class size, New Zealand would allow class size to increase so as to save money to boost teacher quality. All trainee teachers will be expected to possess a post-graduate qualification, and teachers will be assessed under a new performance management system. Performance-based pay might be a possibility under the new measures to be adopted. Despite the government’s stance, parents and unions remain worried about the proposal.
Big class compensation coming
Steffenhagen, J. Vancouver Sun
(3 April 2012)
According to new regulations in British Columbia, “teachers who have more than 30 students in their classes next year may opt for extra pay, additional preparation time, more professional-development money or extra funds for classroom supplies.” Under Bill 22, which passed last month, teachers will earn $2,000-to-2,500 for each additional student. Some tout the cost-saving measures of the bill. For example, the president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association wrote, “If an extra 29 students can be spread around into oversized classes, that will be $2,000 less than the salary of an additional teacher.” Others, including many teachers, believe that the plan will not lead to improved student learning outcomes. (See how some teachers feel about Bill 22 here.)
As the video below shows, Bill 22’s imposition of report cards has caused confusion in British Columbia:
Planned class-size cap stirs anxiety
Martin, N. Winnipeg Free Press
(12 March 2012)
Manitoba’s “plan to cap class size at 20 kids for kindergarten to Grade 3 has trustees nervous.” Trustees are concerned that there could be unintended consequences (i.e., having to split a class into two classes because of increased enrollment during the school year) if the rules are rigid and inflexible. The issue: An influx of immigrants have swelled the numbers of students in the lower grades, making the proposed reform expensive. (More on the increased expense of capping classes here.) “Trustees overwhelmingly want the province to impose the cap on 90 per cent of K-3 classrooms, and let the rest take the numbers needed to avoid space and staff problems.” This would allow flexibility if the student population grows during the school year.