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The Importance of Reduced Class Size

The STAR research shows that small classes (15-17 pupils) in kindergarten
through third grade (K-3) provide short- and long-term benefits for students,
teachers, and society at large.

The landmark Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (formerly the
Education for All Handicapped Children Act, dating to 1975) confers on all such
children the legal right to a free and appropriate public education in the least
restrictive environment, a right to be ensured through an army of advocates, a
legion of lawyers, unusual leverage for parentsand a maze of procedures and
mandates(Levenson, 2012, p. 2).

Levenson (2012) recommends that districts should focus on hiring more effective
general and special education teachers. This will reduce the amount of
paraprofessionals needed and it will also increase school budgets.

Levenson (2012) also recommends that districts reduce class sizes so that
effective teachers can manage their students better.

Levenson (2012) suggests assigning paraprofessionals several students since this
will prevent them from becoming a students best friend. This will help
students achieve social goals that may be listed in their IEPs and it will also help
them develop relationships with their peers.

Large class sizes contribute to high teacher turnover.

You must do individualized interventions based on functional behavioral
assessments for students who are discipline problems and who have reached the
point of an alternative placement (regardless of personnel).

A pipeline could be used to introduce novice teachers to the profession. This
would hopefully cut down the amount of teachers who leave the profession after
just a few years.

According to Cook and Blessing (1970) assistants within the classroom impacted
the students who were in special education classrooms to the point that their
behaviors improved as did their academics.

Low teacher to student ratios is one of the 8 best practices for students who
require an alternative placement according to Tobin and Sprague (1999).

References:
Achilles, C.M. (2012). Class-size policy: The star experiment and related class-
size studies. NCPEA Policy Brief, 1(2), p. 1-9.

Cook, J. J., Blessing, K. R., & Wisconsin State Dept. of Public Instruction, M. N.
(1970). Class Size and Teacher Aides as Factors in the Achievement of the
Educable Mentally Retarded. Final Report.

Koch, C. (2012). Illinois special education eligibility and entitlement procedures
and criteria within a response to intervention (RTI) framework. Retrieved
from http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/pdfs/sped_rti_framework.pdf

Levenson, N., & Thomas B. Fordham, I. (2012). Boosting the Quality and
Efficiency of Special Education. Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

McDaniel, S. C., Flower, A., & Cheney, D. (2011). Put Me in, Coach! A Powerful
and Efficient Tier 2 Behavioral Intervention for Alternative Settings.
Beyond Behavior, 20(1), 18-24.

Tobin, T., Sprague, J., & Oregon School Study Council, E. E. (1999). Alternative
Education Programs for At-Risk Youth: Issues, Best Practice, and
Recommendations. Oregon School Study Council Bulletin, 42(4).

Wendel, A., & Mantil, A. (2008). Investing in Teachers for Student Success: The
Teaching Fellows Program. Horace, 24(1).