Sunday, July 30, 2017

Smaller Class Sizes Improve Student Academics, Except When They Get New Teachers.




























A ground breaking study on the effects of class size on student academics in the New York City classroom have shown that smaller class sizes result in improved student academic learning.  However, there was one condition when small er class sizes did not show any meaningful student academic improvement.  When the class was subject to a "newbie" teacher.  Interestingly,  Chalkbeat spun the study to claim that smaller class sizes did not necessarily show student academic achievement, despite the study's conclusion that it does.

The study took data from 473 schools from 2009-14 and concluded the following:

  • Looking at schools near the cap between 2009 and 2014, Gilraine found that reducing class size by an average of four students produced gains in reading and math scores equivalent to roughly two and a half months of extra learning. 
  •  The classes that shrank by bringing in a new teacher saw essentially no boost in student achievement. And since roughly 50 percent of the classes Gilraine examined depended on newly hired teachers, the overall effect of the class size reductions was cut in half. 
  •  Though Gilraine did not rigorously assess why half of these class size reductions didn’t boost student learning, he said there are a couple of likely reasons. For one, newly hired teachers may be less experienced or lower quality. 
I might add that "newbie" teachers have a steep learning curve when it comes to classroom management, curriculum  knowledge, and their lack of experience in the New York City classroom usually results in the students suffering as the "newbie" teachers feels his and her way through the art of effective instruction.  Therefore, its no surprise that the introduction of a "newbie " teacher would negate the potential academic improvement of smaller class sizes.  In addition, under Chancellor Carmen Farina,  the DOE allows for teachers uncertified in the subject area they instruct in and still  insist on under funding the schools while using the destructive "fair student funding" formula that hurts student academic achievement.Too bad, the DOE and their principals don't bother to read these important studies.  Instead, they continue to implement policies and hiring practices that put "children last".


33 comments:

Mr. Bufford said...

Chaz,
I like your blog. I like you're style of writing, and humor, and I enjoy that you challenge both the DOE and the UfT. However, I think that it's not fair that you blame everything on "Newbie" teachers. As a "newbie" teacher. I think it's radically unfair that you lump us all in the same category.

Ironically, I was just discontinued by an overzealous principal who said I wasn't a good fit/needed more support. I attended many professional developments, and classes on my own and I can say that I was a good teacher at the beginning of the year but by the end I was great. About 90% of my students passed the ELA Regents this year, most achieving scored so that they are labelled career and college ready.

I've longed to get to a point in my career where you are. I have been dedicated, well-informed, and active in my school community. But as a probationary teacher, filing a grievance earns you a spot on their shit list. And you can never go back.


At least the union is willing to fight for you. And there are some of us out there that know what we're doing. Lord knows ATRS get judge like they don't know what they are going either.

Chaz said...

Anon 5:58

Sorry to hear that you were discontinued. However, the ELA Regents has been so dumbed down that many of my Science students, who have terrible vocabulary skills and cannot write a coherent sentence pass it.

I'm sure you feel you're a good teacher and maybe you are but that's why principals hire "newbies" because your cheap and they can get rid of you at there pleasure. On the other hand, the principal would have to pay my salary and take two years just to file 3020-a charges against me and by the time my hearing would occur, its still a six to twelve month additional stay on the school's payroll.

Anonymous said...

Principals love newbie teachers because they can fire them from time to time to scare the rest of the staff. My last two principals would literally choose someone to fire every April, and let them linger on until june just so the rest of the staff could see their sorrowful faces. The people who were fired did nothing wrong. In every single case I witnessed, the untenured teacher was learning, making progress and doing a good job.

Didn't matter. The principals, who seem to be chosen in the 'Leadership' academy for how awful they can be, would make up something stupid and therefore they would look good to their boss (I'm firing those lousy teachers!) So sad, but I recommend all young people today to choose another career. We often are not even allowed to teach anymore, but instead give 'collaborative' group work so the kiddies can 'construct their own learning' and 'teach each other.'

Shad C. said...

@ Mr. Buford
I am so sorry to hear you were discontinued. 1. Do your best to try to find another position ASAP 2. Negotiate with that principal to let you go without filing a 3020A or going through with the discontinuance (maybe he can change it if you have another position 3. get an attorney because you might have to file a lawsuit.

May I ask what borough you were discontinued in? This is horrible. This is the reason I make fun of this system of ours.

Anonymous said...

You'd have to be nuts to go into teaching today. Better off joining the armed forces, seriously.

Anonymous said...

Class size will never be small in NYC because the vast majority of parents here simply are not complaining enough. Yes, I know about the Class Size Matters lawsuit, but how often do you see parents making a stink down at Tweed? When was the last big rally that public school parents engaged in to reduce class size? When was the last time a parent at the school you teach in complain to a superintendent about class size? We as teachers can complain all we want but till the DOE and City Hall gets some serious parent complaints, nothing will ever change. Class size limits in NYC have literally been the same since the friggin' 1960's.

Anonymous said...

@ Mr. Buford,

Been a while since I posted on here but could not pass up the opportunity to respond. Your confession is tragic. What I mean by tragic is that you were obviously never taught or mentored how to deal with administration. You see Mr. Buford, you made a tremendous mistake. The only thing that matters in the DOE presently is relationships. Your relationship with your administration in particular. They don't care that you had a 90+% regents pass rate and they don't care that the students like you. They don't care if you contribute to the community (whatever that means) and they certainly don't care if you are trying to better yourself by attending PD's. No Mr. Buford the only thing administrators care about and are the highest priority is:

a) are you loyal?
b) do you speak to other teachers in the lounge in a negative fashion about the school?
c) do you cause waves?

When you master these techniques of just coming in and doing your job, you will be on your way to becoming a MORM. You get an INEFFECTIVE for relationship bonding as a teacher on our scale. How dare you file a grievance as an untenured teacher? Who the hell told you to go ahead with that? Was it your union rep? Please tell!!!!!! Whoever that person was should be the focus of your anger right now. That person helped end your career. If you approached me and told me what you were possibly planning, you'd still have a job to report to in September. One of your problems seems to be "standing up for what you believe is right" or "speaking out against administration when something fishy is happening" and there are people on here that will tell you, "Mr. Buford, good for you for standing up." These are tenured veterans telling you this. You made a huge error.

So you're a newbie? It might be a blessing in disguise because if you were Tier 6 then it would've been very hard for you to make it until 63 years old, especially with your righteous mannerism. You would eventually been labeled, excessed, or made an ATR. Instead you were dismissed because you can't be trusted and you caused waves. Truthfully you got what you deserved. What the hell did you think was going to happen to you when you filed a grievance against your administrator as an untenured teacher? This is Survivor DOE and you were just sent home from the island. Blow out your torch! A true survivor knows that each year that passes is a victory. A true survivor knows that an 85% graduation rate connects to a 15% college ready rate. A student does not need to attend school anymore as there is no seat time requirement. Why do you think all the grad rates are skyrocketing? The kids know they can cut and paste a google paragraph and submit it. This is what it is now AND YOU HAD TO GO AHEAD and file a grievance that probably didn't amount to anything anyway. You infuriated your boss and created an untrustworthy feel. My principal loves me. She knows I'm loyal and knows I would never talk trash about her. My students regents scores are average, nothing compared to yours. I never go to PD's like you have. The students think I'm ok i guess but nothing crazy. Actually you have everything over me except one thing and that thing is called a relationship.

I cannot believe what you did. I am assuming you are single with no kids of your own because if you were married with children there's no way you would do something as dumb as what you did. Rule #9 in the MORM rulebook is the exact governing principle that you disobeyed. It clearly states "NEVER EVER file a grievance against your principal, especially as an untenured teacher."

MORM
Master Of Relationships Movement

Anonymous said...

It would probably be too late for him to do that depending on when he got his proposal. Just focus on finding a job outside the DOE. There are many of them.

Shad C. said...

OH boy! I was called a MORM and had no clue what that is or was. Now, I see. Kind of sad but I do not totally disagree with this MORM character. Any untenured teacher who grieves has to be a total ASS. Any person who tells an untenured teacher to grieve is a bigger ASS. On the other hand, the UFT should be able to talk to the principal and figure out a solution otherwise never grieve if you are untenured.

When I first started out - the UFT chair told us not to sign any protests when untenured. He told us to not to draw any attention to ourselves.

I would like to learn more about this MORM crap. Sounds interesting but I am not 100 in agreement yet. Please share. Give us all your rules.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back MORM! Your wisdom has been sorely missed!

I too was thinking about this poor young teacher who actually believed all the 'we will fight for justice' stuff. All that sounds good when your sitting in a room full of idealistic millennials, but the real world is very much in operation, and the 'leaders' of our schools are really small-minded and petty people for the most part. There are a few good admins here and there, but they are not the majority in my experience. Even the Bernie Bros got burned when the 'elders' in the 'liberal' party played hard ball and sidetracked him unfairly.

To all young teachers, you must listen to the wisdom of the older teachers - the more jaded the better. Jaded simply means they've seen the worst and survived. Don't be thorn in your admins side. Don't make him work for you. You will lose.

Don't talk about grievances, protests, 'justice' for our students and 'getting them the services they are supposed to have.' Oh, the admins will make a show about 'advocating' for the students, but the Leadership Academy teaches the principals that the teachers are the problem for the lack of achievement. Parents and especially students are not responsible. It's all on you.

"You are too teacher centered!" "You don't do medial summaries." "You are not using HOT strategies." "Where is the differentiation (for the ten ability levels in your class)?" "Why is the student absent all the time? What did YOU do about it?" Do you get the point? Keep your head down. Keep your mouth shut. Say yes to everything. Don't oppose the admins in meetings. Don't be late or absent. Never fail more than 5-10% of your classes, no matter how many deserve it.

These are the only strategies that will enable you to survive in an urban school environment. Do I like that we have to do this? No. I wish we had supportive admins and freedom to diagnose our classes and plan accordingly and creatively. But that ship has long passed away. Every year we get newbies who literally get their hopes dashed and their beliefs shattered. Many leave. Some are fired. It's a new world now. The truth and justice generation has passed on.

Anonymous said...

First thing is first - the mindset. The mindset in the DOE is not right. This ATR agreement (not voted on by ATRs) is not going to have positive results because of the existing mindset of persecuting veteran staff with 20+ years which of course comes with age = age discrimination. Once this no longer exists then, and only then, this would have been a great deal. It's not good to have a target on your back, your front, your head and your a-- by these administrators. Let me tell you a story: There was a veteran staff at a school. A new principal came in and looked over the budget. Someone overheard the principal tell somebody that so and so needs to go because that person has too many years = too much money = BUDGET. This person had problems since that day forward with the NEW principal. Do not be fooled with this ATR agreement.

Anonymous said...

Chaz,
I am hearing teachers' who wish to transfer, currently need a release from their current principal. This seems to be quite different from years past. Can you confirm this? I am assuming many transfers will NOT be granted since principals do not want ATRS placed upon them.

Anonymous said...

To anon 4:00. While I agree with much of what you stated, it think that it is a little presumptuous to conclude that the grievance was the nexus leading directly to his discontinuance. While I'd like to also think that you were being factious when you stated "he got what he deserved" I would disagree. He didn't deserve it at all. No one deserves to have their career ended by vindictive sociopathic administrators. As everyone knows, the DOE is a cesspool of corruption and making complaints is usually the fast track to losing your job. However, we don't know the circumstances that led to the grievance being filed, or the situation inspired by the grievance. I was discontinued by a vindictive administrator who revealed himself to be a complete backstabber because their was absolutely nothing on my end that provoked him initially coming after me. Eventually I did file a grievance but this was towards the end of the year, and at that point it was already determined that I was gonna be discontinued and their was nothing that I could do about. I knew all of this prior to filing the grievance.

Anonymous said...

MORM - can you be a little less empathetic - sarcasm. If the poster is telling the truth, he was just led astray or just didn't know any better. He's a rookie. As if you knew all this BS when you first started. I certainly didn't when I started in the early 90's. Yes, it was a different ballgame back then, but the survival part of your point which is true didn't enter this profession until about five, six or seven years ago. I feel for Mr. Bufford if in fact his story is true, but what is he going to do now. I would personally tell him to ask himself if this job is truly for him. If so, pursue it. Not every school and administration is hostile. Supportive principals and administrations do exist. I'm fortunate enough to have one as much of our staff appreciates her and the work many of her very young by the way assistant principals do for her and the staff, but I would also tell him to listen to your advice because although it comes off as a condescending know it all tone - much of what you say is correct. Rare in this system is the teacher who somehow doesn't "kiss ass" in someway. Oh it could be the slightest "ass kiss" but it's still goes down as one. The system is about survival in many ways - you're correct and you know what, it's about presenting the right personality and building the right relationships as you elude to. Mr. Bufford, when you get another teaching position in this system go in, do your best for the kids, create your most interesting lesson plans, let your true self be seen by the students, don't step on anyone's "toes", talk to someone who knows how the game is played who doesn't have the intent to want someone to grieve something just so they can get their "kicks" to see what happens to you when you do grieve (yes, there are those teachers out there), don't participate in rumors (schools are rumor mills), don't ever tell anyone your personal business and find someway that is ethically correct to yourself to pass as many of the students you have. In essence, it's all a numbers game today and passing rate is KING. It sucks doesn't it, but it's the way the game is played if one wants to make a distant run. You will never change the world, but you can in fact make a difference here and there. Anyone in the NYC system who tells you otherwise is delusional, has the required years to retire and has little to lose, have themselves "made waves" and thus put themselves on the radar or teaches in a "country club" school which to be fair still exist in the system. Wish you the best and as my Irish grandparents always said: May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Anonymous said...

@4:00 its great when the system creates spineless jellyfish such as yourself. if you have children of your own and hope you don't would you tell them to "just take the verbal and physical abuse the bullies will eventually like you". isn't what we tell our students to do is reach higher, dream big, go to college, and stand up for yourself. mr. buford don't ever listen to people who accept mediocrity and are not part of the GAPT society. hopefully you will land on your feet. good luck.

GAPT
grow a pair today

Anonymous said...

Anon 4pm- You a Fukin Robot . Must be enjoyable working like a fake piece of shit everyday. How! fulfilling A life full of purpose! Joke!

DOEvet said...

Would love to see a list of MORM rules! And good for others to see as well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Newbie,

Hang in there! You love teaching and should not be diccouraged by what happened. I want you to find a school where your talents are appreciated!

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Last school year my principal hired 8 teachers. ALL 8 are in their mid 20's with 0-2 years experience. The ones with the 1-2 years experience all came from charter schools. This is absolute PROOF that fair student funding is to blame. It CANNOT simply be a coincidence that ALL 8 are newbies. Also, how on earth will these newbies survive the classroom until their
63rd birthday??? 40 years of classroom teaching.....close to impossible to accomplish.

Chaz said...

Anon 8:36Not true. Until August 7th, a teacher can leave their school without the approval of the Principal. Who ever told you to the contrary is full of you know what.

Anonymous said...

Unless you're Bridget Bye of Pan American International HS in the Bronx. She has called every international hs in the 5 Boros to tell them to let her know immediately if one of her teachers applies. As she is the founding principal of the organization and most of the international principals owe their jobs to her, they comply. That teacher is then blackballed and remains in Pan American with a big target on their back. Stay away from Pan American HS in the Bronx.

Anonymous said...

Been teaching in NYC for over 20 years. A few things I believe in if you want to survive: 1) Don't make waves by rocking the boat. In other words, if you see something say nothing. 2) Don't bitch about things in any public area of your school which includes staff meetings, hallways, lounge, etc. You never know who is a rat in your school. 3) Never be late and do not take excessive days off. 4) Keep your personal life personal by never posting up any photos or words on social media that can come back to bite you in the ass. 5) Always say THANK YOU to any staff member that helps you out. (Feel free to write thank you notes as well) 6) Be a team player even if you hate the game because it is a long ass game after all. 7) Don't lie. You will get caught. If you make a mistake say sorry and do what you need to do to fix what you messed up. 8) Offer to share you materials or expertise as long is it will not cause your students or you sanity any harm. 9) Always answer emails as fast as possible but not on weekends or at night. 10) Ask for help only to fellow teachers that you trust since some will give you bad info on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Chaz,
All due respect, I was able to confirm, that yes, ALL transfers MUST be approved by their current principal, and NONE will be honored after Aug. 7th.

Anonymous said...

It's different nowadays than back in the 1990's where you could speak up, whether tenured or untenured. Speaking up was seen as beneficial to administrators because it encouraged open dialogue within a community. People were able to agree to disagree without all this backlash from administration. Students need not enter this profession. I don't think families raise their children to enter into a profession that will treat them poorly by harassing them and not valuing their dreams and desires to teach or be part of the school system in another capacity. EVERYTHING is blamed on school staff. View a youtube video with Diane Ravitch as she addressed Long Island educators at LIU. Both administrators and teachers/staff came together to address the policies being implemented in NYS and how it's not the educator's fault students are not doing well. Administrators support teachers/staff and think Cuomo's policies are BS. Yet NYC administrators have yet to stand side by side with their staff. Instead what you get in NYC public schools is the hatchet.

Chaz said...

Anon 7:32

You're wrong. The Principal has no say until after August 7h.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, You are wrong

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:32

Chaz is correct, the Open Market System was set op so that staff can move to another school without their Principal's approval. Who is giving you this bad advice? Your Principal?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:32

Check the OMTS creation, it was put into place so that staff can move to any school they pleased, without being released by the Principal.

Somebody is giving you wrong information.

Anonymous said...

7:32


What planet are you from? More importantly, who gave you this false information?

Anonymous said...

Yet again, from another asst superintendent...NO transfers without principals approval..thank you!

Anonymous said...

Not only am i correct, % colleagues are currently waiting for their current principal to release them..These are facts.

Chaz said...

Anon 5:56

The asst Superintendent is wrong and so are you. Contact the union, they will tell you the same thing.

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