He’s absolutely right, but there are other concerns that are.
While I was an ardent supporter of the class size amendment at the beginning, the reality says that most of it was a waste.
All in all, the amendment was a good idea to force school districts to deal with critical overcrowding by building brick and mortar classrooms rather than parking decrepit, moldy, portable classrooms on athletic fields and any other “open” space a school could find.
The fact of the school system ten years ago was that parents (and just about everybody else) were complaining about the portable classrooms, their conditions and when push came to shove, they were unsafe.
Parents were demanding that their children be moved into “real” classrooms.
However, the fact remains that while class size did indeed reduce overcrowding throughout the district, one of the most stated goals of giving teachers more time with individual students hasn’t produced the other intended result.
As of this moment, we have nine years of empirical data that offers no proof or any indication that it’s the number of students in a classroom that has made a difference in either test scores or student outcomes.
In that respect, reducing class size from 40 to 22 didn’t work.
Beyond the crowding relief, it hasn’t produced a thing other than more jobs for teachers.
SAT scores, which have been flat around the country for the last 40 years have actually decreased in Florida over the last year or two.
Certainly, that’s one alarm for the district.
But the loudest alarm for the school system is the continuing gross mismanagement at all levels of staff.
As I mentioned last time, not all staff is corrupt or incompetent.
In fact, those that can perform to a standard of excellence are more than likely frustrated by those who can’t. Or won’t.
I’ve seen it too many times during my years on the Board.
The road to correcting this will be long and painful, but it must be done.
The customer service aspect in any business must take primary importance in the district.
Case in point: Two months ago, I received a phone call from an old friend whose son was being treated unfairly at his school.
I won’t provide the details, but to all appearances, it was true, and the boy’s marks were being affected in a negative way.
Nobody at the school would give the father the right time of day.
They were “too busy” with other things to take care of a customer.
Maybe they’d be gracious and give him an appointment in six weeks or so.
Frustrated to no end, he called me.
I told him how to take care of it, and he did.
My friend had his appointment the next day.
Not only with the Principal, but the grade adviser and the teacher.
The school had “suddenly” come to understand the meaning of customer service.
It shouldn’t have been necessary, but it was.
It’s probably the key component to addressing the faults within the district.
And it isn’t just at the schools, it’s everywhere.
At every level. Teachers, administrators, grass cutters, inspectors, project managers, senior staff, and even in the past, Board members.
Oh, and at least two Superintendents we know.
That’s the real meaning of “Good to Great.”