Melissa (herestogoodbye) wrote in killptamoms,

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For those of you who didn't read the article that Dayna was talking about (and that I wrote)...
With a graduating class of 632 and a new freshman class of about 1300, it's no surprise that the classes at Chandler High School are brimming past capacity.
Although there is only so much that can be done to battle the population boom that has gripped the entire Chandler area, besides building yet another high school (which is being done), it is still a problem that needs to be addressed. For instance, we can look at case point one: my physics class.
The first day I stepped into class, a grandiose one minute before the bell, nearly every seat was already filled. In fact, by the time that everyone in the class had arrived, there were not enough seats for everyone. In essence, the physics class was filled beyond capacity.
One solution to this problem could be to create more sections of the AP physics course (because, you see, AP physics, along with every other AP science, is offered only fifth hour). In fact, make the AP science classes different periods. Thus, quite a few problems can be solved: first, my nearly 40 something class can be cut down to roughly 20 students, by just adding another section; second, more students can take an AP science (some refuse to take an AP science due to the fact that it is offered only in the afternoon, thus messing up the perfect half day that some seniors have); third, IB students who wish to take two sciences can now pursue their diploma with greater ease; fourth, any student wishing to take more than one AP science can now take it.
It isn’t just the sciences that could use more sections, the English classes also have massive numbers (although, unlike the sciences, English 12 has four sections of honors). Now, maybe creating more sections and hiring more teachers is just not a plausible solution – however that is not to say that there is no solution. Sadly, another alternative would be to create higher standards for honors classes.
Ultimately, what matters is that these classes require students to think beyond the level of average high school students in order to get college credit (whether in the form of the CLEP, AP or IB test is up to the students).
However, with such large classes, it’s nearly impossible to optimize the learning experience for each student. In a class of 40, it’s less likely that everyone has a chance to talk than in a class of 20. it’s not a matter of how good a teacher is, but rather a pure matter of numbers. If more teachers cannot be added, then maybe the program (or the classes) need to be more selection in order to put students in an environment in which they can maximize their learning experience.
Yet, this doesn’t serve to solve all the problems associated with the population boom; rather, it only deals with the population boom within the AP classes. Ultimately, to accommodate the students who are pushed out of honors (or choose to drop), the number of teachers (or sections) still has to increase.
More personal attention at all levels is necessary, especially in the areas of math and English because many college bound students have to take the oh-so-dreaded SATs. Without personal attention in areas that they are deficient in, students cannot be expected to meet standards on the SATs, getting into their top choices for college, or win scholarship, many of which depend on SAT scores.
Both the teachers and students suffer due to overflowing classes. By putting too many students in the classes, teachers are forced to try to control massive numbers of students (and we all know how hard it is to control even just a few teenagers); in addition, students are not able to maximize their learning experience because their classes are entirely too large to make it a meaningful experience. Large student to teacher ratios result in less personal attention to the students, which may be the method at large public colleges, but that shouldn’t be the method in high school.
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