Hitting a nerve or hitting the nail on the head?

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The issue of class size is back in focus with remarks made by  New York's Mayor Bloomberg at MIT last week.  Speaking hypothetically, Mr. Bloomberg said that if he could design the ideal school system, he would have only top-notch teachers who are much better paid — even if it meant that class size grew as a result.  A tempest brewed, with everyone from reporters and parents to teachers lashing out in objection. 

Given the bleak fiscal picture for many districts, increasing class size may be inevitable. However, as there is plenty of evidence that modest increases in class size do not have a negative impact on student learning, and that only large decreases have a positive effect, there should be little cause for alarm.  And if, in the process, larger classes are led by strong teachers, we'd all have cause to celebrate.

Susan Douglas