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Old 01-21-2024, 10:27 AM
 
Location: WA
5,438 posts, read 7,723,606 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
You still haven't presented what you would do with the extra money.
Smaller class sizes for one. I teach freshman/sophomore biology and I have class sizes between 30-34 students in a classroom/lab designed for a maximum capacity of 24. There are a lot of things I simply cannot do because students are packed too closely together to work with any sort of hazardous chemicals, sharp instruments, or breakable glassware.

Not to mention I can't reasonably keep track of all the various kids with Special Education IEPs, 504 plans and so forth in classes that large.
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Old 01-21-2024, 10:46 AM
 
Location: A coal patch in Pennsyltucky
10,385 posts, read 10,647,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Smaller class sizes for one. I teach freshman/sophomore biology and I have class sizes between 30-34 students in a classroom/lab designed for a maximum capacity of 24. There are a lot of things I simply cannot do because students are packed too closely together to work with any sort of hazardous chemicals, sharp instruments, or breakable glassware.

Not to mention I can't reasonably keep track of all the various kids with Special Education IEPs, 504 plans and so forth in classes that large.
I think 24 would still be a high number for a HS biology class. The trouble is some schools don't have an additional room they could use for an additional biology classes. I subbed at one HS where some teachers pushed a cart around and used other teachers' classrooms during their prep periods. Some had around 30 textbooks on the cart since they did not purchase a textbook for each student.
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Old 01-21-2024, 11:16 AM
 
Location: WA
5,438 posts, read 7,723,606 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
I think 24 would still be a high number for a HS biology class. The trouble is some schools don't have an additional room they could use for an additional biology classes. I subbed at one HS where some teachers pushed a cart around and used other teachers' classrooms during their prep periods. Some had around 30 textbooks on the cart since they did not purchase a textbook for each student.
Lowering class sizes isn't just about hiring more teachers. In many cases it is also about building more infrastructure and classrooms.

Of course this is not a one-size-fits all answer. Some school districts are growing and running up against severe constraints in terms of facilities. While others are shrinking and finding it necessary to close old underused buildings. The needs of one district might be opposite from the needs of another.

For example, around here there are a couple districts in fast-growing areas that can't seem to keep up with growth and can't manage to pass construction bonds. Which require a 60% supermajority in WA and fail even if they get a 59% to 41% majority at the polls. And so some of those schools are a sea of portable classrooms sitting in gravel or mud and students are attending classes in the cafeteria divided by portable rolling barriers and such. While other nearby districts are shrinking and struggling with closing schools and layoffs and economies of scale that make many normal things impossible. For example, if the school only gets 15 students to sign up for AP Biology they have to cancel the class because they can't afford to have a teacher with only 15 kids in the classroom.

The list of needs in every school and district are going to be different, and often even opposite. But there are very few that are so wealthy that additional funds cannot be put to good use, even if it is simply to do universally-recognized improvements like reducing class size.

Take a look at the top private schools in the country for whom money is no object and look what they do. Hint, it is about class sizes, proper infrastructure, and hiring the best people. One thing I guarantee they are not doing is teaching 35 kids freshman/sophomore biology in a portable classroom with no sinks, counters, or lab equipment. Or doing the same thing with 28 kids in a kindergarten classroom.
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Old 01-21-2024, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
50,758 posts, read 24,253,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Smaller class sizes for one. I teach freshman/sophomore biology and I have class sizes between 30-34 students in a classroom/lab designed for a maximum capacity of 24. There are a lot of things I simply cannot do because students are packed too closely together to work with any sort of hazardous chemicals, sharp instruments, or breakable glassware.

Not to mention I can't reasonably keep track of all the various kids with Special Education IEPs, 504 plans and so forth in classes that large.
For earth science I found around 22-26 students was good.

I once had a very small class -- only 12 students (poor master scheduling, I guess), and while that sounded ideal, that particular mix of students was such that it was very difficult to get a discussion going.
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Old 01-21-2024, 11:36 AM
 
Location: A coal patch in Pennsyltucky
10,385 posts, read 10,647,904 times
Reputation: 12699
Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Lowering class sizes isn't just about hiring more teachers. In many cases it is also about building more infrastructure and classrooms.

Of course this is not a one-size-fits all answer. Some school districts are growing and running up against severe constraints in terms of facilities. While others are shrinking and finding it necessary to close old underused buildings. The needs of one district might be opposite from the needs of another.

For example, around here there are a couple districts in fast-growing areas that can't seem to keep up with growth and can't manage to pass construction bonds. Which require a 60% supermajority in WA and fail even if they get a 59% to 41% majority at the polls. And so some of those schools are a sea of portable classrooms sitting in gravel or mud and students are attending classes in the cafeteria divided by portable rolling barriers and such. While other nearby districts are shrinking and struggling with closing schools and layoffs and economies of scale that make many normal things impossible. For example, if the school only gets 15 students to sign up for AP Biology they have to cancel the class because they can't afford to have a teacher with only 15 kids in the classroom.

The list of needs in every school and district are going to be different, and often even opposite. But there are very few that are so wealthy that additional funds cannot be put to good use, even if it is simply to do universally-recognized improvements like reducing class size.

Take a look at the top private schools in the country for whom money is no object and look what they do. Hint, it is about class sizes, proper infrastructure, and hiring the best people. One thing I guarantee they are not doing is teaching 35 kids freshman/sophomore biology in a portable classroom with no sinks, counters, or lab equipment. Or doing the same thing with 28 kids in a kindergarten classroom.
I'm in Western PA where almost every school district has declining enrollment. My son lives in Eastern PA outside of Philly where the school districts in his area have expanded from one HS to 2-3 high schools. Apparently construction bonds are not as difficult to get in PA if the justification is there.
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Old 01-21-2024, 12:27 PM
 
Location: WA
5,438 posts, read 7,723,606 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
I'm in Western PA where almost every school district has declining enrollment. My son lives in Eastern PA outside of Philly where the school districts in his area have expanded from one HS to 2-3 high schools. Apparently construction bonds are not as difficult to get in PA if the justification is there.
Yes, and the financial needs of every district are going to be very different. The older declining districts where you live are likely plagued with old decaying buildings that might have enormous maintenance costs associated with them, especially if they have been deferring maintenance for decades. Old buildings can be very expensive and inefficient to operate. And might cost a fortune to modernize and do things like remediate lead paint, lead pipes, asbestos, bring in modern wiring for internet and devices, etc. And they are also probably faced with a shrinking tax base.

Whereas the growing districts in the Philly suburbs might have lots of new modern buildings that are already up to code and easy to maintain and their costs are going to be different. Probably more associated with hiring talented teachers in a HCOL area and brining new buildings in on budget in an area where there is lots of demand for construction and contractors.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how education dollars should be spent.
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Old 01-21-2024, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
50,758 posts, read 24,253,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Yes, and the financial needs of every district are going to be very different. The older declining districts where you live are likely plagued with old decaying buildings that might have enormous maintenance costs associated with them, especially if they have been deferring maintenance for decades. Old buildings can be very expensive and inefficient to operate. And might cost a fortune to modernize and do things like remediate lead paint, lead pipes, asbestos, bring in modern wiring for internet and devices, etc. And they are also probably faced with a shrinking tax base.

Whereas the growing districts in the Philly suburbs might have lots of new modern buildings that are already up to code and easy to maintain and their costs are going to be different. Probably more associated with hiring talented teachers in a HCOL area and brining new buildings in on budget in an area where there is lots of demand for construction and contractors.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how education dollars should be spent.
Exactly. But you have to remember on forums such as this, most posters do 2 things:

To every question they think there is only one answer.
To them, almost everything is "either" "or".
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Old 01-21-2024, 01:00 PM
 
12,831 posts, read 9,025,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
1. That would be a waste of time with you.

2. That's not for one person to decide. It has to be a democratic process. It isn't a "well I have the answer" situation.
It is a case of "you asked for the money; what are you going to do with it?" type thing. Perfectly reasonable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Smaller class sizes for one. I teach freshman/sophomore biology and I have class sizes between 30-34 students in a classroom/lab designed for a maximum capacity of 24. There are a lot of things I simply cannot do because students are packed too closely together to work with any sort of hazardous chemicals, sharp instruments, or breakable glassware.

Not to mention I can't reasonably keep track of all the various kids with Special Education IEPs, 504 plans and so forth in classes that large.
Thank you. You provided an item -- smaller class sizes with specific numbers and you provided a reason why -- safety in a lab class. The next steps for that would be things like what are the current standards for lab design, occupancy, ventilation, hazards material handling and storage, ratio of students to supervision (yes, I can understand that kids with hazardous materials are different than adults). You've presented something reasonable that can be defined, and specific design solutions implemented.
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Old 01-21-2024, 01:47 PM
 
Location: WA
5,438 posts, read 7,723,606 times
Reputation: 8538
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
Thank you. You provided an item -- smaller class sizes with specific numbers and you provided a reason why -- safety in a lab class. The next steps for that would be things like what are the current standards for lab design, occupancy, ventilation, hazards material handling and storage, ratio of students to supervision (yes, I can understand that kids with hazardous materials are different than adults). You've presented something reasonable that can be defined, and specific design solutions implemented.
The actual code standards are widely published and available. In short, they are 50 sf per student in a dedicated lab, 60 sf per student in a combined lab/classroom, and a maximum of 24 students per teacher for supervising science labs with equipment, gas, hotplates, glassware, acids/bases, etc.

https://edcircuit.com/occupancy-load...2%80%93%202021)

My current classroom is about 1,000 sf and is a science classroom in the perimeters along the long walls have counters and cabinets and there are two sinks. The short walls are whiteboards in the back and projector/screen/teacher's desk in the front.

By code I should have no more than 16 students in the classroom to run a proper lab. My classes currently range from 24 students (smallest) to 34 students (largest).

We make the best of it and I try to do a lot of engaging labs. But there are some things I'm simply not going to do. For example dissections. I can't have 34 students milling about with scalpels in their hands bumping shoulders and elbows with each other and that is far too many freshmen to supervise and observe with sharp objects in their hands.

Likewise with only 2 sinks there are lots of chemistry labs I cannot run and with only lab counters on opposite sides of the room I can only reasonably have about 6-8 hotplates going at any one time. We can't spread out and do hotplates, microscopes, etc. in the center of the room on the student tables because there is no power and it would be a severe safety code violation to try and run extension cords from the walls to the center of the room for things like microscopes, hot plates, and other equipment that requires power.

What I am describing is actually pretty routine. This HS is not particularly overcrowded and was built in 1999 so isn't particularly old. I think the classroom was actually built as some sort of tech maker-space not a science lab because it has air jets for power tools around the perimeter but not gas for Bunsen burners. And two sinks is completely inadequate for many chemistry and biology labs.
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Old 01-21-2024, 01:52 PM
 
28,660 posts, read 18,761,634 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) began in 1939 with the purpose of keeping white mothers out of the workforce during the Depression Era. They got the aid even if their unemployed husbands were in the house. American entrance into WWII and the workforce changes wrought by the war were not contemplated at the time.

I specified "white mothers" because black mothers did not receive the aid in most states (although it was a government program, it was managed by the states). Black mothers were considered already in the workforce, and in many states the intention was to keep them in the work force as a cheap labor resource, both domestic and commercial.

The aid was extended to black mothers in the latter years of the Eisenhower Administration, prior to the Civil Rights Act and prior to the Johnson Administration. However, at that same time many states established the notorious "no man in the house rule."
Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
This rule is cited as a reason why many families broke up and why the whole single mother thing became so widespread. However, you have to think about it. The rule was created because there was a belief fathers ought to be working and supporting families. There was concern also that without this rule that some low income fathers might stop working entirely secure in the knowledge they could just go pick up check every month from Uncle Sam instead. I don't see it as evil or insidious. It may have had some detrimental effects, but the intentions behind it were reasonable ones.
In history, there is always more than one thing happening, and Event C might not have happened unless Events A and B had already happened. And when Event C only happened to one group when Events A and B happened to all groups, then there is probably some unnoted event that group uniquely suffered.

The ostensible reason some states enacted the "no man in the house" rule was because the sudden addition of black mothers significantly increased the cost of the program. "Increased cost" was the stated reason...but that was also nicely coincident with high black populations in those states.

In either case, "no man in the house" was ruled unconstitutional by 1969, so it had been in effect in only some states and only for a few years. So, that was a contributing Event (and it affected white women as well, as statistics show), but it was hardly long enough and ubiquitous enough to account for the near total breakdown of the black family, which had become a clear event in the early 90s.

What was detectable in the 80s was a change in the zeitgeist of the family concept among black women...which was unique to that group at that time.

Until the late 70s going into the 80s, the American nuclear family concept was the common national zeitgeist. Although slavery had eliminated the nuclear family for enslaved black people, and Jim Crow had made maintaining a nuclear family difficult until the Civil Rights Act, it was still the notion to which black women aspired...until the 80s.

In the 80s, young black women began saying, "I want children, but I don't need a man to raise them." I was personally hearing it from young women in Washington DC in the 80s, not just those in poverty, but those in good federal government jobs as well. There are at least a couple of mainstream news documentaries from the 80s available on YouTube that focused on young black women saying, "I want children, but I don't need a man to raise them" as a provocative social trend of the time.

That was very different. That was very new. That hadn't been said before. "I don't need a man" hadn't been the aspiration of black women before.

That "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" concept was being promulgated by Radical Feminists (capitalized because Radical Feminism is a specific ideology). Radical Feminism came to the forefront as the second wave of Liberal Feminism (equal economic and political rights for women) was winning its own ideological cause. It became prominent enough as radically family-destructive ideology that Vice-President Dan Quayle even expressed alarm in 1989, for which he was ridiculed because, "You know, he's a conservative and conservatives just want to hold women back."

Boomer white women resisted "you don't need a man," and Boomer white women still resist it (probably a factor in the majority of Boomer white women voting for Trump). But black women bought into it, lock, stock, and barrel.

Why? Go back to what I said earlier: Slavery had eliminated the nuclear family for enslaved black people, and Jim Crow had made maintaining a nuclear family difficult until the Civil Rights Act. So, to a greater extent than for white women, the traditional nuclear family for black women had always been far more aspirational than actual. That made "you don't need a man" make a lot more sense to black women than white women.

Plus, the ideology certainly had its powerful evangelists among black women, such as Oprah Winfrey.

But that happened in the 80s. That was the "baby mama as culture" turning point. Slavery and Jim Crow were Events A and B for black women. Radical Feminism was Event C, the final nail in the coffin of the black family. At this point, "baby mama as culture" is into its third generation...the black Gen Z doesn't even have grandparents who aspired to a nuclear family ideology.

(Of course, I'm speaking in statistical generalities that don't apply to maybe 20-25 percent of black people who still do aspire to the nuclear family.)
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