From the Grade Book
by Ron Mattus
After their recent visit to Jefferson High School in Tampa, Bill and Melinda Gates sat down with three members of the media, including St. Petersburg Times education editor Marilyn Garateix. Excerpts from the interview are running on The Gradebook tomorrow at noon, but to give you a taste, here’s Bill Gates’ response when asked if class size reduction has been overemphasized:
If the issue was to have classes be 3 percent larger in order to have that money to run a good feedback system for the teachers, the peer evaluators, the mentors, then I think that would be money well spent … Small classroom size is a good thing, but in a period of finite resources, you have to decide, is that the only thing you’ll invest in, which may not let you do other things? And, you know, I wish the resources for education were going up every year, you know. That would allow you to do great evaluation systems and perhaps some tuning of the class size as well. But what we’re trying to point out to people is that of all the things you can invest in, that if you have tradeoffs, (class size) may not make the top of the list.