- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Associated Press article on the growth of class sizes reported the extreme distress caused by the prospect of school class sizes increasing because of education budget cuts (“As budget ax falls on schools, classrooms get more crowded,” Nation, Monday). Oh, my! Thirty-five children in one class! Maybe even up to 43 children in a middle school class! Oh, heavens, how will teachers deal with this many students?

This wailing and wringing of hands is ridiculous.

These teachers are adults, and they can’t handle two more grade schoolers? If those 43 middle schoolers have not learned how to behave in class by now, they never will. If the students aren’t learning, keep them after class for extra instruction or arrange for an older student to tutor them. If students keep acting up, send them to detention or to the principal. If the child is quiet, keep an eye on him and make sure he is not falling behind. All of this is a teacher’s job.

In my grade school, we had 60 students in one class. My high school classes were equally large. We behaved because we were trained to behave; if we didn’t, we were kept after class. We learned because we were properly taught and it was expected of us. If we needed extra help with our work, our teachers helped us after school or found us a tutor. We managed to graduate with good grades, all of us went on to high school, and most of us entered college.

If today’s teachers — whose class sizes are much smaller than mine were — are incapable of what my teachers accomplished 40 years ago, we all should take a good hard look at what kind of training they are getting and at how competent they are.

FRANCES ALEXANDER

Newburg, Md.


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