Friday, March 29, 2019

Hilarious video of DeVos testimony on class size - with a more serious message lurking behing it

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.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I saw this when another friend posted on Facebook about the C-SPAN session. As a person with 26 years of experience in education (substitute teacher, assistant teacher, teacher, assistant principal, principal and superintendent) this is my response:

Just the headline accompanying the C-SPAN video makes anyone who has ever actually been involved in education laugh hysterically...and cry...and want to scream in frustration at the utter stupidity of our system. In my estimation, our education system needs a top to bottom total overhaul...soon.

The main purpose of education should be to nurture children into finding their true strength, their real purpose and to help them become happy, productive, compassionate and creative human beings that can help save our planet and people, NOT little worker bees that perpetuate a system that benefits the few.

Nurturing children can't happen when they are packed into classrooms like little sardines. It's also a surefire way to make teachers start running for the nearest exit and make potential teachers give up before they even enter a classroom.

There is a reason the concept of revolution evolved. It's time for one now, if we want to save our planet, our children and ourselves from the greed, idiocy and malice of those running the show. It's a journey worth taking and we'd better all jump on the train.