Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Linking Pay and Class Size Hurts Teaching Quality

March 29, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In proposing larger classes for the best teachers, Bill Gates assumes mistakenly that teaching in K-12 classrooms is just like lecturing to university students (“Gates to NGA: Tie Class Sizes to Teachers’ Skill,” March 9, 2011).

What makes a teacher of young learners effective is his or her ability to work with individuals in ways that are appropriate to their needs. During whole-group lessons, such teachers move around their classrooms, spotting those who are having difficulty and taking the time to give a little help and encouragement. Later, when planning future lessons, they include modifications for the range of abilities in their classrooms and figure out ways to have most students working on their own or with a partner, so they can meet with small groups.

It is only the least-competent teachers who stand in front of their classrooms and give the same instruction to all, blind to the boredom of those who already know the material, the confusion of those who aren’t ready for it, and the tuned-out state of the few who don’t care.

Although the notion of getting extra pay for taking on more students might have seemed attractive to most of the teachers responding to a survey funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2008, the situation at that time was only hypothetical.

Today thousands of teachers all over the country have classes of 30 and up. I wager that neither Bill Gates nor the governors who agree with him could keep order in such classrooms, much less teach anybody anything.

Joanne Yatvin

Portland, Ore.

A version of this article appeared in the March 30, 2011 edition of Education Week as Linking Pay and Class Size Hurts Teaching Quality

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read