In recent years, the false “reformers” have told s again and again that having “a great teacher” (defined by test scores) is more important than the size of the class he or she teaches. They have proposed finding those great teachers (they are still looking, but haven’t found the right method to identify them), then assigning them classes of 35-40 or more. It never occurs to them that the great teachers might no longer be so great with large classes. They are looking at cost, not quality of education.

But now Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzanbach of Northwestern University has published a report demonstrating that class size really does matter. The needier the students, the more it matters.

” “Class size matters,” writes Schanzenbach, an economist and education policy professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. “Research supports the common-sense notion that children learn more and teachers are more effective in smaller classes.”

“Citing evidence from the academic literature, Schanzenbach explains that “class size is an important determinant of a variety of student outcomes ranging from test scores to broader life outcomes. Smaller classes are particularly effective at raising achievement levels of low-income and minority children.”

“Conversely, she points out, raising class size can be shown to be harmful to children. “Money saved today by increasing class sizes will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the future,” she writes.”

So when false reformers say they are advocating for the civil rights of poor and minority children, point out that if they mean it, they will reduce class size for children who need the most attention.