Charter network leader Moskowitz on class sizes

“Obsession with class size is causing many public schools to look like relics,” Success Charter Network founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz writes in the Sunday Washington Post. Small class sizes are no guarantee of success, and a “19th-century school can be transformed into a well-managed 21st-century school by adding just two students per classroom.”

 As an example, she cites the makeup of the network’s crown jewel, the Harlem Success Academy Charter School:

… we’ve gotten some of the best results in New York City … some classes are comparatively large because we believe our money is better spent elsewhere. In fifth grade, for example, every student gets a laptop and a Kindle with immediate access to an essentially unlimited supply of e-books. Every classroom has a Smart Board, a modern blackboard that is a touch-screen computer with high-speed Internet access. Every teacher has a laptop, video camera, access to a catalogue of lesson plans and videotaped lessons.

Public schools are spending so much to reduce class sizes that there isn’t enough left to ensure the development of the teachers they hire, Moskowitz writes. What’s worse, she says, human capital is getting more expensive while better technology and intellectual property are getting cheaper.