17 February 2009

Aspirational averages?

| johnboy
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Steve Doszpot is having a go at Andrew Barr’s class size commitments which apparently are averages rather than maximums.

    “Minister Barr advised today that at Narrabundah Early Childhood School there are 48 students enrolled in Preschool but only 8 students in Kindergarten, 4 in year 1, 2 in year 3 – does this then mean that the Minister can say that the commitment is being met because the average class size for this school is 15.5?

    “There is no guarantee that our students are not stuck in a class of 40 or more while the Minister continues to hide behind his bogus commitment to just reduce the average class size of the school.”

While they bicker about angels dancing on the head of a pin consider this.

Would you rather your child be in a class of 50 lead by a great teacher? Or would you prefer they get more direct attention in a class of 15 from a really bad one who’s only in the workforce due to a need to fill places to meet notional class size targets?

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Actually Woody and housebound, it wasn’t me. I’d had my coffee for the morning by 6:30am thanks.

I would NEVER make so many grammatical mistakes. I left the screen up at home and went into work early – 7:30am. It was my husband who wrote that comment.

I can’t believe you didn’t realise that it wasn’t me.

Aside from Nyssa’s poor typing (hint: wait until AFTER coffee), the actual promise was not for averages across the ACT, as far as I remember. It was made in response to a Libs promise for smaller primary school classes, and Barr saw their bid and raised them one by extending that to high schools as well. Perhaps he thought ALP wouldn’t win and so he would never have to deliver. The high school teachers I know were very skeptical at the time, thinking that, despite the rhetoric that implied smaller classes across the board, it would be averages in a school.

By the way, the real issue with P-2 schools is that nobody wanted them, and so now very few are enrolling beyond the preschool years.

Woody Mann-Caruso9:43 am 18 Feb 09

The (my?) point being is that (no – is or being that, not both) making schools P-2 are (is- making, not schools) a waste of taxpayers‘<- money and parents‘<- time and money as they will eventually have to purchase all new school clothes etc. (weasel use of etc)

Miss Nyssa – a poor effort. 2/10. See me for spanks. AB

nyssa76: At that age you’re purchasing all new school clothes every year or two anyway.

Don’t look at me, I didn’t vote for them.

As a recovering teacher, I am confident to opine that even 32 is a ludicrously high maximum. Until the baby boom, class sizes were less than half that, and the reason they grew was a skill shortage. The change had nothing to do with what was best for students or their education. When double the number of kids turned up on the first day of school in 1950, there was no way to double the number of teachers, so we just doubled the class sizes, and they have stayed that way.

No teacher can efficiently manage the education of 30+ students. They can manage behaviour, and then possibly make some elementary headway with education, but class size targets are only ever influenced by economic and political pressures, and no politician ever considers pedagogical concerns when making ‘targets’ (aspirational or otherwise).

The point being is that making schools P-2 are a waste of taxpayers money and parents time and money as they will eventually have to purchase all new school clothes etc.

Why did anyone vote that idiot back in?

sepi said :

And no teacher is so brilliant they can manage and teach 50 kids at once.

I think Mr Doszpot is playing silly buggers with the statistics. In comparison Fadden preschool has 44 kids enrolled. However 22 are enrolled Mon-Wed short days and 22 are enrolled Thu-Fri long days. The maximum class size is 22 with a teacher and a full time teacher’s aide, so the child:educator ratio is actually 11:1.

Fadden kindergarten has 48 kids but split between 3 classes so the class size is 16.

I would be far more worried if my child was in a class of 2.

The election commitment was always average class sizes – this is not ‘new’ news… and the average also takes into account Learning Centre classes (and other special needs classes), which may have only a handful of students.

The maximum class size in ACT (certainly high schools) is 32 – but lower maximum class sizes were identified as a major priority as Public school teachers head into EBA negotiations this year. I think primary schools do have a lower maximum number…

Agree with sepi. Even if they started out brilliant they would quickly burn out.

No wonder it is low – who wants to send their child to a school that ends in year two, and you have to move them elsewhere.

And no teacher is so brilliant they can manage and teach 50 kids at once.

Narrabundah seriously has that low an enrollment? wow…

Funny how all the government’s targets become aspirational average targets after a while..

Well I guess it depends on whether my child needs close attention or not, however I’d probably choose homeschooling.

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