Why are charter school classes so huge?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Backroads, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Found out my class is at 27 students for lower elementary. Not complaining, I've done 30, and some may be online. But I'm back at a charter and, like every charter in the area, they boast small class sizes. It's part of the advertising.

    I'm not saying the number is huge, but it seems a silly thing to mention when all the district public schools' classes are smaller, in the low twenties.

    The power of marketing, I guess?
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Power of marketing, and the power of money.

    Charters get paid per student. The more they fit in, the more they get paid.

    Numbers are often advertised as lower than reality because they average numbers as a whole. In the high school, there could be an advanced literature class or Japanese Year 3 class with only 10 students. There are also intervention teachers who meet with five or so students at a time. Normally, student to teacher ratio includes ALL licensed teachers, even those with different job duties.

    But I agree - charters often advertise themselves as doing or having things that sound better on paper than actually plays out.

    Good luck in your new job!
     
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  4. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Other schools might have closed so you could be getting some of the overflow. Enrollment might change eventually so the class sizes could go down in the future. Does your school actually promise small class sizes? I'm assuming the parents would say something at some point.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    That does make sense!
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    They do promise small class sizes... But also fail to define "small".

    We are definitely getting overflow, but the last charter I worked at regularly had at least 28 to a class and while also saying they capped classes at 25. It's a phenomenon I've heard other charter school teachers in the area mention.

    My last charter did have a few incidents of parents complaining.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm no fan of charters AT ALL, but I have to say both of these things apply to regular public schools in my area as well. Is this not true everywhere? Funding is based on the number of students you have, and the advertised "teacher to student ratio" is based on every teacher in the building, not just classroom teachers, which makes the ratio appear to be super small.
     
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  8. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    This is definitely the case with my over-crowded public school. Our official "ratio" is something like 19:1, but I have 30 on my roster for this year and have never had fewer than 24 in the last 4 years. :rolleyes:
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    It also counts SPED teachers, reading specialists, specials teachers... it's a very misleading number.
     
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  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    That's nuts.
     
  11. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Student-teacher ratios are always calculated in such a misleading way. Every school I've seen (at least around here) talk about their class sizes always uses ratio, which doesn't give the correct information. I want to know class size, not ratio.

    My school has (as far as I know, since we have kids moving to a new school) about 620 students and probably around 40 or so certified staff members. That ratio is fantastic - about 16:1. The problem is that we have 6 grade levels with 4 teachers per team now. That puts class sizes at 25-26. And, in my case, we have a grade or two that are MUCH larger, so we end up with 28+ in a class.
    Ratios are misleading, and I think it's largely intentional. How many teachers want to apply at a school where 30+ kids in an elementary class is normal? But a ratio of 16:1 makes it look much more appealing.

    (My apologies for the rant -- this has been a sore spot for me for the past few years. Even after the district made boundary changes to reduce overcrowding, we're still getting too-large classes).
     
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  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    How many kids are in the district's same grade classes? Small is a relative term.
     
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  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    So true.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    In my particular observation, according to my relative and my neighbor, about 23.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Wow. That is small for public school.
     
  16. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Maybe I'm just spoiled.
     
  17. Ima Teacher

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    My classes (public school) are usually 20 to 24. A few years I had classes of 35, but that was because our enrollment had increased without a funding increase. We got more teachers, and it’s been okay.
     
  18. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    That’s the difference between public and charter schools. Public schools are required to take the students who enroll, provided they’re in their area. Charter schools are allowed to say they take X amount of students per grade level, and not take more after that.
     
  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I'
    I'm definitely spoiled because all of my students have IEPs that spell out what the ratio has to be. It only takes into account the classroom teacher and TAs. Not any other teacher in the building. We can't go over the ratio (although I did have an extra student for a week but it wasn't terrible since it was definitely only temporary).
     
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  20. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    What I may be seeing is charters upping up that x number. District schools will eventually reach a natural balance, but charters can fall into the ol' if you build it they will come scenario.
     
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  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Is your charter school unionized? That can play a part as well. My previous school was technically public but operated more like a private school, and we were not unionized. I found that they took advantage of teachers where they could. We had pretty small class sizes on average, but there were a few teachers who were really given the short end of the stick with overly large numbers, especially in comparison to other teachers.
     
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  22. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Nope, no union.
     

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