Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Little value in small classes Saturday, June 28, 2003
Enzo Rotatori Metrowest Daily News
I am responding To The News article dated June 24, entitled "Teachers team up on new tactic."  This sounds like a wonderful idea.

Let's hire another 600 teachers in Framingham and we will have the best school system in the state.

Before I make my final decision, I will need to research some relevant facts.  The school budget for fiscal year 2004 is $71.7 million, as shown in the school budget booklet.  But is it really that figure?  Our town employee health care costs for this budget are $19.9 million, which is not reflected in the school budget!  That brings the school budget to over $80 million, and as I understand it, with all the other charges distributed to the school department, they receive about 60 percent of all money spent in Framingham.

Mr. Ralph Wilbur of North Andover wrote a 26 page analysis entitled, "The Rush to Smaller Class Sizes: A Cost/Benefit Perspective."  His conclusion is that smaller class sizes do not increase test scores.

The Beacon Hill Institute for Public Policy Research division of Suffolk University stated in part on June 10, 2002: "It confirmed some interesting findings from other studies -- for instance, lower student-teacher ratios are generally not correlated with improving scores."

The S.T.A.R. Project is a study that most supporters of reducing class size use to advance their claims.  Dr. Pate-Bain, initiator of the project, was past president of a national teachers' union.

The Summary of Achievement results of of the S.T.A.R. Report states, "small class effects diminish after first grade.  The small class effect is concentrated in kindergarten and grade 1.  This finding suggests that class-size reduction should be concentrated in kindergarten and grade 1 where effects will be greatest.  This also indicates that there is no additional class-size effect after grade 1."

Teacher unions and educators use this report to support their belief that smaller class sizes result in a better education.  They are using the kindergarten and grade 1 portion of the S.T.A.R. Report to project undocumented improvements throughout each grade.

Framingham per pupil cost is around $9,000 per student per year.  Can you imagine what the cost would be if we agreed to the two teachers per classroom theory?

If you like skyrocketing taxes and a yearly override, then you might be in favor of the two teacher program.

Graduating 2003 Framingham High School student MCAS scores taken in their sophomore year ranked them 143rd out of 270 reporting schools.  Wayland was 2nd place, Holliston was 52nd, Hopkinton was 33rd and Shrewsbury was 44th for the same ranking year.  These towns spent from $663 to $2,876 less per student than Framingham did during that one year.

My vote is no for two teachers to a classroom.  It is unfortunate that teacher unions are the greatest impediment to education reform and better learning, as documented in the book, "Worm in the Apple."

Send comments to: hjw2001@gmail.com