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Letter to the Editor: Ratios have a place outside math class
Letter to the Editor
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(This response was taken from an ongoing discussion between Randy Reynolds, chair of the Rockdale Libertarian Party; Stan Williams, chair of the Rockdale Democratic Party; and David Center, professor emeritus of Georgia State University, that was shared with The Rockdale News.)

Dear Editor: I was trying to promote discussion about only one narrow educational issue - student/teacher ratio - not open a discussion about everything wrong with education, students, parental involvement, etc.

Specifically, I was approaching the issue of student/teacher ratio as to how to best use funds available currently in government schools to best lower the student/teacher ratio in ways to have a significant impact on education - if student/teacher ratio matters, and there seems to be some agreement that it does. My example of incremental change made possible by reallocating funds was moving from 12.5:1 ratio to 6.25:1 ratio - by reversing the currently inverted educational hierarchal pyramid from a more officer:NCO model to a more NCO:officer model - extending the military metaphor. That's a proposal for elementary schools, which would be age dependent presumably.

Opening the discussion to middle and high schools, perhaps we should be considering student:teacher ratios to the other extreme as often found in college freshman and sophomore classes. The difference should be rather than using graduate teaching assistants, as colleges do for those classes, we should be using truly gifted edu-tainers/info-tainers. In my children's experience, Chuck Garner comes to mind. There are others available in mass media - Bill Nye, the science guy, etc.

Again, considering middle and high schools particularly, but to a lesser degree in upper elementary, too, we need to be looking at the student/campus cop ratio, too. It is imperative to preserve a safe and orderly learning environment for all. The greater number of parapro/NCOs in elementary should suffice for safety and order there, perhaps; but preserving a safe and orderly learning environment in which all can learn without distraction from those that do NOT want to learn is a major issue. In middle and high school, could that be improved by more campus cops and more entertaining/informative teachers, even if at a much higher student:teacher ratio?

Money is a major motivator to all ages and all academic capabilities. That was lost as a motivator for increased education/vocational certification, when child labor was outlawed in deference to labor unions and well-meaning child welfare advocates acting in concert! How do we restore some market mechanism to motivate all students to learn and improve themselves? Other than "Skittles" candy in lower elementary, which further exacerbates poor nutrition at home and in school cafeterias?

Please refer to "Food and Behavior" by Barbara Stitt. Due to her nutritionally informed leadership, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, did a reform of nutrition in government schools and in criminal justice parole with dramatic improvement in school behavior, academic performance, and graduation rate and in criminal recidivism rates, respectively. Let's re-invent the wheel, or let's stop ignoring the obvious wheels, which bear the weight of our school system and, ultimately, of our criminal justice system.

Randy Reynolds,
Libertarian Party
of Rockdale County