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A good problem?
“Schools like to have a full house,” Mark Thomas said in an Aug. 15 article in The News Enterprise (HCS enrollment up, teachers needed).
“Large classes create some problems, but they are good problems to have,” he said.
These comments were made after an unexpected growth spurt in Hardin County Schools.
The increase in students forced classes to begin with an absurd student/teacher ratio, over-crowded classrooms, shifting and moving students, and combining classrooms.
I’m not quite sure why this represents a “good problem.” The current situation allows a teacher to give my grandchild two minutes of undivided attention each hour. That is, of course, if all other students do exactly what they are supposed to do: Work independently for 58 minutes.
And what happens after school? Schools’ programs are filled to the brim. Students of working parents are bussed to day care centers around town. This is a good problem? For whom? Certainly not my grandchildren or their teachers.
As preschool director and foreign language teacher at Gloria Dei Lutheran School, I am aware any studies about quality education mention a low student/teacher ratio, individual attention and a teaching staff certified with teaching degrees.
Each child learns differently, comes from different home environments, and may have physical or emotional challenges. It is a teacher’s job to get to know every student in his or her class. I doubt this is possible with two minutes an hour.
Parents with students in Hardin County have other options to help children with low self-esteem, who can’t read as fast as others, who are too quiet to be noticed, who have special gifts to share and who are brilliant but get lost in the shuffle.
Lutheran schools, for example, have the longest history of parochial schools in the world. Christian education was so important to old German immigrants they built schools before they built churches. It is the Christian education, small classroom sizes, certified teachers and warm, family relationships that encourage parents to give their children an alternative to public schools. The “good problem to have” equals more money. Different choices, different priorities.