Check out hilarious clip below of Anthony Cody reacting to Betsy Devos testifying before the US House of Representatives on Wednesday that larger classes have benefits to students. Anthony, who is a former teacher and a fellow board member of the Network for Public Education, got up at the crack of dawn to attend these hearings and we're glad he did.
Not to detract from the absurdity of her comments, I'd like to point out that individuals including Bill Gates and our Michael Bloomberg have made similar absurd claims. In fact, Anthony Cody himself rebutted Bill Gates' damaging ideas on class size in the Washington Post.
When he was Education Secretary Arne Duncan also advised districts to increase class size, offering this likely fabricated example:
"In fact, teachers in Asia sometimes request larger class sizes because they think a broad distribution of students and skill levels can accelerate learning."
In a one-to-one meeting, I asked our former Schools Chancellor Farina to back her claims, oft-expressed in town hall meetings, that larger classes were good for children's social-emotional learning. Of course, she never did because that research doesn't exist.
Right now in Ontario, the education minister Lisa Thompson has announced that their government intends to increase class sizes in high schools from 22 to 28 students per class. As justification, she has maintained that this will make students "more resilient."
That research doesn't exist either. To the contrary, there is abundant evidence to show that students' persistence, effort, engagement and self-esteem -- all linked to success in schools and later in life -- are significantly increased when class sizes are smaller.
What's the message here? Though Betsy DeVos deserves ridicule, so should all the other class size deniers who are trying to force their wrong-headed views on other people's kids -- and in the process deny them a quality education.