This article was adapted from the new book "The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve," available Aug. 16 from Henry Holt.
Few things about a school seem to matter more to parents than class size. For many of us it is the litmus test for a well-run school. Small class size speaks of a school that is focused on putting resources in the right place -- not administrative retreats, paneling for the principal's office, or expensive but rarely used class-room technology. Small class size is a signal to us that a hundred smaller decisions that accompany the running of a school have been shaped with our children as a priority. As a result, a school is able to invest in an appropriate number of teachers.