Critical Analysis #2

Classroom sizes has been an ongoing issue in American education. Reducing students in the classroom is a popular idea with most teachers, parents, and students alike. Lowering classroom sizes seems like common sense, and would improve on educational strategies by allowing time for one on one with the student. Yet, with budget cuts, and policymakers enforcing the rules, schools are turning their backs on smaller classes in favor of enlarged classroom sizes to help reduce spending. The school system is to make sure no child is left behind, meaning students are up to grade level, engaged in learning, and are college and world ready. As teachers we can leave a child behind, when there are 30 plus students in one classroom. Classroom sizes need to be reduced for three main reasons: less behavioral issues, increased one on one time, and more engagement throughout the lesson.
Teachers a lot of times receive the horrible title of “glorified babysitter.” Why is that? Well if teachers have class sizes with 30 students or more, are they really teaching in a meaningful and engaging way? How much information is being packed away into the students minds, if another student is off task in front of them, two students are fighting in the back, and the teachers main focus is on the disruptive behavior? The teacher must stop, redirect each student who is off task and start again. In a 40 to 50 minute class period, a teacher might redirect students multiple times. Is this classroom environment effective at all? Students need time to understand the information, process it, and tie the new information into an existing link in their brains. Students will not be able to grasp any new concepts that the teacher is trying to teach if students are in a over populated classroom with behavioral problems. Teachers are very effective if proctoring the room, being able to see each student and how they are processing the knowledge given to them. However, a teacher can not proctor the room efficiently if there are too many students, and off task behavior will develop. When off task behavior takes place in the classroom, the teacher has lost the students for that day, and now the ugly stereotype of a “glorified babysitter” takes place.
Another topic on America’s educational society is standardize testing and the ongoing struggle on how to increase student’s scores. Even though standardize testing is an ineffective way to measure student’s progress. How do the politicians expect test results to increase if they are piling students in a classroom that is overextended already? Research shows that 60% of all students in elementary and secondary schools favor smaller class sizes (Fleming Thomas Toutant Tara Rapist Helen, 2002). Research done by Glass and Smith in 1980 provided overwhelming gains in scores for students who were in a smaller class setting then a larger one (Fleming Thomas Toutant Tara Rapist Helen, 2002). One on one teaching really impacts a student’s learning for the best. If a student is falling behind in a part of the curriculum the teacher is teaching, there can be one on one time to help the student understand and determine why the student is struggling in the first place. Smaller class sizes are necessary for student success not only to boost standardized test scores, but to make sure each student is at grade level with reading, writing, and math.
Education should be freeing. Students in America live in a democracy and therefore should go to school in a democratic fashion. Students should be able to become more involved in their education and choose how they will be taught to make school more engaging and motivating for them. The teachers should have flexibility to use different instructional approaches when it comes to their classroom, thus engaging the students more in activities. However, a democracy in the classroom and the dream of teacher flexibility will never be realized because of the restraints on classroom size. In an over populated classroom, students will not feel as comfortable speaking out or asking a question in front of so many peers. The teacher will lose their freedom because they will have to focus on teaching 30-plus students and having them all on task. Shoulder partners, small groups, and activities almost vanish if there is a oversized classroom. There would be too much off task behavior to break into groups where the students teach one another what they have learned. Reducing classroom size gives the students and the teacher more freedom in the classroom. More freedom results in more meaningful learning for both the student and the teacher. Meaningful learning will light a spark within a child to intrinsic motivation, which should be the teachers goal.
The opposing side for having reduced class sizes is the cost. In 2000, reducing class sizes gained popularity in the federal government, and the creation of class-size-reduction program began. With the class size reducing the government recruited, hired and trained new teachers. Reduction of class size was looking promising until No Child Left Behind was passed in 2001. From that point on, class reduction was an after thought and no more money was put into funding more teachers for smaller classes. Republican candidate Mitt Romney suggested class size mattered little to pupils’ achievement (Hill Miriam , 2012). How can a person who went through the educational process say class size does not matter to students achievement? The real reason that class size does not matter to most politicians is because of the money they are saving by overpopulating the classrooms. Increasing class sizes is a way for the policymakers to save on average 9 to 12 million dollars per year. Seeing how America has put education on the back burner for many years now, it is no wonder why the politicians are willing to enlarge class sizes to save more money.
Class reduction is a key to the success of the students. Smaller classes provides a better classroom environment with less disruptive behavior, improved academic performance, and more accountability and flexibility for the student and teacher. America must make drastic changes in the education process and not focus solely on the financial repercussions if it wants to return to the forefront of education success.


Chen, G. (2009). Smaller class sizes: Pros and cons. Retrieved from

Fleming Thomas Toutant Tara Rapist Helen. (2002). Class size and it's effects: A review .

Hill Miriam (2012, May 24). size.

Critical Analysis #1

Social Promotion

Social promoting is the exercise of promoting students on to the next grade, even if they have not acquired the mandatory material to effectively move on. Social promoting in schools is to keep students with their own age and social groups. In the United States, social promotion is most likely to occur in the years of kindergarten through eighth grade. Promoting students on to the next grade who haven’t learned the proper and necessary material to pass their current grade level is wrong and unfair to the students. The school system is undermining our students and cheating the students of an education by social promoting. Schools are failing the children because we are allowing the students to pass a grade even if they have failed. The arguments for social promotion are concerned with the students’ self-esteem and reducing education spending. However, in this brief overview the use of social promoting is hurting the students in the short and long term.

The shortcoming of America’s educational process is due to social promotion. While there are several viewpoints regarding social promotion the following will be discussed: Who is greatly affected by social promotion, what public opinion thinks about social promotion, and how the educational system is hurting students by social promotion.

Social Promotion is passing along students to the age appropriate grade. The alternative to Social Promotion is retention. Retention is holding a student back a grade, because the student has not grasps the information needed to move up with their peers. As Davidson (2003) states students who are at a higher risk of being retained tend to have the following characteristics and socioeconomic background:
1. They tend to be boys.
2. They tend to be African American or Hispanic.
3. They are young or immature for their grade.
4. They show developmental delays.
5. They show attention, behavioral, or emotional problems.
6. They are not proficient in English (English language learners).
7. They have problems reading.
8. They have changed schools often.
9. They live in families with incomes below the poverty level.
10. They live in single-parent families.
11. They live with adults who are uninvolved in their education

Socioeconomic and family factors contribute greatly to retention. Studies have shown that social promotions are not educationally effective policies. However, most states in America frown upon holding a student back for a year. Research has shown it hurts their self-esteem to be retained. By not retaining a student, our country socially promotes them on to the next grade. Moving on to the next grade is now rewarding the students who are generally at risk for retention (low socioeconomics). Students who greatly need an intervention in school are now being passed along, or the content is being “dumb down” for the students to succeed in the classroom. Education should not be evaluated on a certain age group; education should be evaluated by how much knowledge and effort the student put into school. A student that is coming from a low socioeconomic family should not be passed along to the next grade if they do not attain the necessary information. The schools are doing low economical students no favors by moving them up a grade, if they can not pass their current grade. Low socioeconomic students are going to graduate from high school with out the basic knowledge needed in the real world to survive. By social promoting low socioeconomic students, our schools are making surviving in the real world unimaginable and unrealistic.

The public opinion is strong for ending social promotion. About three-quarters of parents, and more than 80 percent of teachers and employers, think it is worst for a child struggling in school to be promoted to the next grade than to be held back. Only 24 percent of parents and 15 percent of teachers think it is worse for a student to have to repeat a grade (“Education week,” 2004). Most of the public is on board for ending social promotion. Why is America still promoting? One reason for social promotion is holding back a child will hurt their self-image. Commonly, students who are retained, drop out 80 percent more than student who is in their appropriate age group. Finally and most important to the state and taxpayers, retaining a student will cost up to six thousand dollars a year (Stump, 2007) . Nevertheless, we cannot put a price on America’s future. Students need to learn the appropriate material to pass their currently grade level. When the school system moves every student on to the next grade, this showing the students that hard work does not pay off. The school system is showing students they do not have to put in effort and their parents do not have to be involved. Graduating from high school the students are labeled as being ready for college and the real world; nothing could be further from the truth because of social promoting.

Social Promotion is hurting our students more then helping them. “All schools must end social promotion. No child should graduate from high school with a diploma he or she can't read. We do our children no favors when we allow them to pass from grade to grade without mastering the material” (Clinton, 1999). If our country keeps on passing students along when they are failing, children receive the message that it is okay to not put effort into school. Achievement in school should be the student’s top priority. By promoting students the school system is lying to both the parent and the child by telling them they are college ready, when they are not. Retention shows personal growth in the short term and also prepares the student for the real world. Social Promotion is giving out “trophies” to every student who does not try, does not care about academics and whose parents are not involved with their schoolwork. Teaching students that it is socially acceptable to fail at something, and still get rewarded is not how this world works. If the students think the world works like social promotion does, the world is going to be quite difficult for them. The student will think they will get every job that they interview for, or if they do not show up for work for a month their job will be waiting for them when they are ready to come back. Our nation is not doing students any favors when they Social Promote.

After WWII, America was the superpower of the world in production, and in education. In the year 2012, the United States is now sixteenth in the world for college graduates. One must ask this nation is it because of social promotion? Does America want every student to have a positive self-image, that this country will jeopardize the educational process by promoting students that have not mastered their skills in their current grade level? To really help students, the country must spend more money on education. Students must be able to have interventions. Interventions include: after school programs, headfirst programs, and more funding for low-income schools. If intervention fails, the student must be retained. Retaining is a hard but reasonable lesson to learn by students. Social Promotion is not “real life” and is setting students up for failure in society.


Stump, C. (2007). Retrieved from

Clinton, B. (199). Retrieved from

Tish Davidson. (2003). Retention in Schools.

Westchester Institute For Human Services Research. (1998). The balanced view: Social promotion & retention. Retrieved from

Wilda Heard (2010, September 05).

Education week. (2004, Sept 21). Retrieved from

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