Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Justifying Jobs by the Numbers

The Chief of the Village of Dryden police wants to add an officer position, bringing her force to a level that far exceeds that of other similar-sized villages in NYS I can easily Google. Is there a crime wave in Dryden Village? Leaving aside whether we should even HAVE a village police force, when the town is covered by state police and sheriff, what is the justification for the increase? It doesn't appear that there's any need for justification when the goal is job creation, or where you can find a grant to snow the trustees into thinking this won't cost them much.

Our student population in Dryden has decreased by 250 students over the past decade, and we anticipate a further decline before it levels out. That fact, along with others, has provided justification for some eliminations of teaching jobs this year. It's hard, because the last hired are often the finest and most motivated, and we hate to lose them. Nevertheless, it makes sense--it's logical in light of the numbers.

O's cousins attend a well-respected charter school in Marblehead, MA, whose class sizes range from 25 to 28, well above what we accept in Dryden for anything other than certain HS courses. Nevertheless, kids there do spectacularly well, even though often they are students that for one reason or another did not succeed in the regular public school. So one starts to wonder whether class-size studies take enough information into account. It's pretty clear that class size matters in the primary grades but may have little to no effect as you move up the grades. Do college lecture courses really teach less than seminar classes? It probably depends on the type of learner you are and the quality of the lecturer or professor rather than on the numbers themselves.

1 comment:

Overheard in Ithaca said...

Well doesn't the village make money on speeding tickets?

Also, TC3 has added a whole new local police force to the community too, along with an increase in student population.