Reducing Class Size - the answer to many things.

Today I found this interesting article (in on the relationship of class sizes and healthcare costs:

 NEW YORK, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Reducing U.S. elementary school class sizes might be among the most cost-effective ways to reduce healthcare costs, a study suggests.

Peter Muennig of Columbia University in New York and Steven H. Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond estimate that reducing class sizes would mean an additional 72,000 to 140,000 students would graduate high school each year, producing net savings of $14 billion to $24 billion.

The study was prompted by previous findings that small class sizes increase high school graduation rates, especially among low-income students, and that people with higher levels of education are less likely to need Medicaid or Medicare before age 65, said Muennig.

There is a well known link between education levels and health, but this study attempted to estimate how an educational policy change on reducing class sizes can change health outcomes, said Muennig.

Using a mathematical model, the researchers found that a student graduating from high school after attending smaller classes gains $168,431 in lifetime net revenue, compared to a high school dropout who attended regular-sized classes.

The findings are scheduled to be published in the November issue of the American Journal of Public Health, but are available online.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

From previously researching this issue, as well as from experience,  I know that reducing class size is the best way to improve education.  But this study goes well beyond what I could ever imagine - relating class sizes with healthcare costs.  Amazing.

 At one time, I taught at a school with very small class sizes.  The average class size was 10 students.  I can say that I did my best teaching at that school.  I feel confident that I left no child behind; I gave my undivided attention to all students; no student was anonymous, I could keep track (just in my head) what assignments were not handed in, what a student got on an exam.  There was no need to shush the class, no wasting time on discipline.  I could concentrate on actually teaching (I don't find that most of my time nowadays is spent on actual teaching.) , explaining a concept extremely well, letting the students really understand/discover.  It was the utopia of teaching. 

Now I teach 25 students in a class, and I teach 6 classes.  That's 150 students.  How can I possibly keep track of each student, make sure each student hands in all the assignments, understands all the material.  I try my best, but I know for a fact, that I am letting some kids fall through the cracks.  Who knows, these students might end up flunking out of school because I didn't give them the attention they deserved.

 Just on my teaching experience in these two different settings, I think this study is sound, and reducing class sizes could quite possibly reduce healthcare costs.  Fascinating!

Submitted by bogusia on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 04:07

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