Reader Comments on Class Sizes

In public education on February 27, 2009 at 1:57 am

Boy have times changed over the years in public schools.
Class sizes used to be 30-35 pupils to one teacher.
Teachers always checked their own class homework, and they brought it home to check.
Students graduated, went on for their BA, BS, degrees, and entered the business world or other professions.

Today the demand is on for 10 pupils to 1 teacher or aide.
The ratio of students per teaching faculty and education support personnel, breakdown for each school is shown on the BOE web as:

ranges: 11.2 students to 1 teacher/support personnel
to range 15.7 student to 1 teacher/personnel (higher grade levels).
(Glen 6.3 pupils to 1 teacher/personnel) No doubt, the special needs is more challenging and should/do require having more ratio coverage.

Teachers as they did in the past, should take on the responsibility of the whole class. A successful well qualified teacher should be able to address all of their classes students individual learning levels. If not, the board needs to address that with each teacher. Mostly all of Ridgewood teachers have their MA. The initiative to attain a masters degree was suggested a few years ago by the board, and the reward was an increased salary level. Yes, Ridgewood receives federal funds $166,758. Title I – No child left behind. If a teacher is tracked to be unsuccessful with students grades under the NCLB, the new administration in Washington will get rid of them and replace with who’ll be qualified and successful with students.

It is a stark comparison from when teachers salaries were almost a decent living wage, and were sweetened with all the benefits, free health coverage, 2-3 summer months off, pension entitlements, lifetime insurance benefits, and union guaranteed pay raises year after year, just to get those good teachers to enter the scholastic field.

Today, those salaries earned are more than a comfortable living wage averaging $70,000 – $100,000. The school budget costs are ever increasing, and it is 63% of your property tax far more than municipal, county, local taxes. At a time when everything across the country has reached their ‘bubbles’, inflated property assessments with the housing markets and the economic crisis, it is long overdue that the school budgets have reached their ‘bubble’. The taxpayers of Ridgewood cannot keep paying those increased taxes on these increased assessments. Cuts need to be made.

The BOE budget is short.No wonder?

Make money giving away free cell phones!

  1. Thanks for the post. one of the most informative I have seen. Simply increase the class size to 25-35 (as it was when I went to RHS in 74-76) and it would cut the budget of the BOE. Either through attrition or layoffs, its the most intelligent way to handle the budget, unless the labour & health benefit agreements are renegotiated with the teachers union (which they won't budge on)

  2. another anti-teacher rant in a supposedly pro-teacher Village

  3. Good post.

    Times have changed for two reasons.

    The teachers union has spread the propaganda for low student to teacher ratios. These ratios have been low for years in urban areas, and those children still haven’t made significant educational gains.

    Classes now include mainstreamed special needs children. Heterogeneous grouping of kids have made it harder for teachers. Back in the day, those kids would have been in a smaller, “special” class.

    Yes, the BOE should do more with less.

  4. Where does one start in a reply to this ridiculously simplistic attempt to blame teachers and teacher salaries for the budget crisis now facing Ridgewood.

    Maybe $70 to $100K was an exhorbitant salary back in the day, but it’s not today. Benefits aren’t “free”, they’re part of an overall compensation figure. 2-3 months off in the summer? Which 2-3 months are they? School ends the last week of June and for some teachers and coaches starts on August 15. Raises year-after-year? Last time I checked, a two or three percent raise doesn’t even keep track with inflation in a robust economy.

    We can’t place the burden of solving this budget crisis entirely on the backs of teachers. Reforms in some areas? Yeah, we need them, particularly when it’s impossible to get rid of teachers who don’t perform their duties well enough to stay here. Tenure rules need to be scrapped and the better teachers know this is a necessity.

    Ridgewood’s schools, unfortunately, have outgrown Ridgewood. We are a sending district for the county for special needs students and it costs Ridgewood taxpayers a boatload. We are required to implement unfunded state mandates developed by bureaucrats who wouldn’t recognize a good idea if it bit them on the nose. Course creep, where we provide hundreds of disciplines in areas of interests for a disproportionately small number of students, needs to be examined. Do we really need to teach specific dialects of langages at RHS?

    In the meantime, the physical plant is an unmitigated disaster district-wide, our school athletic fields are an embarassment and the high school doesn’t have a performing arts facility large enough for all parents to see their kids perform.

    There are lots of issues here. The teachers are a relatively small one. Certainly class size is even smaller that that.

  5. Why our school district is broke —

    We have a board of ed that cannot negotiate successfully. The BOE cannot budget appropriately. It does not understand state or federal laws, which the board whines are unfunded “mandates.”

    It is inept and disorganized when running the few administrators it has at cottage place. It cannot pay bills on time. It cannot get needed documents filed on time. It cannot communicate well with its constituencies. It is unable to find the bathroom without a detailed map and a flashlight.

    The end result is that we are woefully over-budgeted and under prepared for capital expenses and economic downtowns. We are saddled with ineffective administrators who cost us extra money because they need the help of consultants to even begin to do their jobs. Some, just do their jobs badly with impunity from a BOE that can’t tell the difference. Members don’t know when they are being fed crap or steak.

    It’s a costly and unfortunate mess. Our newest leader just wrings his hands and says we have a $2.5 million budget gap. Well, duh!

    What the hell are you going to do about it? Which administrators are you willing to do without? Are you willing to hand the entire budget — and I mean the entire budget — over to an entity that really knows how to assemble a school budget? Dan, are you willing to open new negotiations with all the unions? Even GM managed that and the UAW is famous for being intractable.

    Here’s a start. Think of yourselves as a bankrupt enterprise and begin at the beginning. Get a grip on the state and federal laws so that you actually understand them and can find an effective way to function within your means.

    Admit that you’re in over your proverbial heads and ask for help from the brilliant and experienced members within our community. There are real PhDs out their who can really help you.

    Stop with the “we know better than you” act and lets all get together to do what is best for our children and our budget.

    Here’s the first idea: Stop with the zeal to have reform math. This math requires ongoing teacher training. Do we really want to put our taxpayers on the hook for ongoing teacher training. Think of the extra time and money that could be saved if we do like so many other districts have done and simply get rid of this new age junk that is masquerading as math. It’s not math. Repeat after me…It’s Not Math.

    We can no longer afford Regina and Dan Ilaria’s ideology. Nor should we have to. Those two should get their resumes in order and go to a district that wants reform math. They embarrass us with their blatant contempt for the National Math Panel.

    Now, they are even out of step with the state. The frickin state!


    Keep pushing that huge rock up the mountain. How long before it rolls back and crushes you? You’ll slink home at night clutching your paycheck. But what of our kids? What of their parents? What of the taxpayer?

    Lady Macbeth said: “Screw yourself to thy sticking place.”

    Translation: Grow some cajones!

  6. A lot has changed since the 1950s.

  7. In the 70’s in Fair Lawn the class sizes were small… 18-20 kids per class in elementary school.

  8. How long before it rolls back and crushes you?

    How long until the drugs work and your paranoia goes away?

    Translation: stop being a “defeatocrat”!

  9. “Simply increase the class size to 25-35 (as it was when I went to RHS in 74-76)”

    RHS should have bigger classes, at least at the honors and AP level, since those classes are tracked and contain the brighter, better behaved children.

  10. All these unions are eventualy going to have to give somthing back.

  11. 2:25 – my child is not an honors student and is extremely well behaved. Where in h*ll do you get off making such and assinine statement? Some of the worst kids I know at RHS ar AP/honors.

  12. “those salaries earned are more than a comfortable living wage averaging $70,000 – $100,000.”

    You’re kidding, right?

    I know people who make 125,000 are struggling to keep up with the bills

  13. 2:12 try looking up “paranoid” in the dictionary. I don’t think you have a clue what it means. Do you work for our BOE?

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