In light of Betsy DeVos’ comments on the benefits of large class sizes and hiring fewer teachers – “In fact, students may be better served by being in larger classes, if by hiring fewer teachers, a district or state can better compensate those who have demonstrated high ability and outstanding results…” – I wanted to share the following statistics from the school Betsy attended as a young woman, Holland Christian School…
Average class size:
High school, 19.5
Middle school, 23.2
Elementary school, 17.3
Teacher to Student Ratio, 1 : 12.5
From Holland to Detroit
By way of comparison, the teachers’ contract in the Detroit Public Schools Community District (the school system that Ms. DeVos suggested should simply be dissolved) stipulates the following class sizes:
• In grades K-3, the class size is supposed to range from 17-25 students.
• In grades 4-5, the maximum is 30.
• And in grades 6-12, the max is 35 students.
Across the district, 14 out of the district’s 115 schools have oversize classes — many of them with multiple classes that are too large. According to fall class data provided by the district:
- Nearly every K-8 class at Palmer Park is teeming with students. A third-grade class has 40 students, a sixth-grade class has 44 and a second-grade class has 39. The school’s overall numbers have increased even more since fall.
- An eighth-grade class at Noble Elementary-Middle School has 52 students.
- A third-grade class at Bow Elementary-Middle School has 48 students. An eighth-grade class has 47 students.
- A fourth-grade class at Dixon Elementary-Middle School has 49 students, while a fifth-grade class has 43 students.
- A fourth-grade class at Mason Elementary has 45 students.
Evidently, large class sizes are good for kids in underfunded urban public schools that Ms. DeVos believes should be shut down completely, while smaller class sizes are better for the children of families who attend schools like the one Ms. DeVos went to.
I guess the devil really is in the details.
It’s time for Betsy DeVos to resign.