Everybody wants small class sizes and great teachers, but budget cuts to education mean teacher layoffs and more kids per room. Last week Microsoft chairman Bill Gates refueled the debate on class size by suggesting that the most important factor in schools is the quality of teacher instead of the number of students in a classroom. Gates says that instead of using seniority to lay off teachers, cash strapped school districts should save money by firing ineffective educators, and then putting more students into the classrooms of excellent ones.
Leonie Haimson, a New York City-based parent advocate and executive director of Class Size Matters and GOOD publisher Ben Goldhirsh took the debate over raising class sizes to the Dylan Ratigan Show yesterday. Watch the video above for some more insight into the pros and cons of Gates' suggestion.