On the other hand, I am gratified to see that some remember ideas raised during my 2004 visit in the community. Since then, we have continued studying class size and its effects, following students through grades K - 12 and beyond. The STAR class-size experiment students (about 12,000) graduated in 1998 from high school if they progressed through school with no disruption, such as failing, dropping out and changing schools.
The long-term results have been most gratifying, showing near equity in education performance between poor and minority and more "privileged" students during the STAR experiment (grades K - 3) and afterward. The research showed, among other things, that for maximum effect the student should start school (kindergarten, or before) in a small class. (The small class is preventive and not remedial). Students require three, and preferably four years in a small-class setting for lasting benefits. Thus, a planned class size initiative would start with grades K ' 1, and move ahead one grade per year through grade 3 (K ' 1, 2, 3). This can be accomplished, as shown in North Carolina and other places, at minimum cost through resource reallocation if space is available.
Dr. Thibodaux has been a strong supporter of class-size efforts. However, his example of district-wide numbers may be misleading. More importantly, wholesale implementation such as Florida's class size fiasco deserves attention as bad politics and bad for kids. The emphasis should be grades K ' 3 or so, with careful monitoring, and allowance for unforeseen events. This approach is fully research-based with robust, long-term replications. I applaud the cooperative work of Lafayette educators, the Chamber of Commerce, and community interests.
in case you missed it