Most research has proven over the years that the smaller the class size, the better overall performance of students. Reducing class sizes was a priority of the No Child Left Behind Act, but the economic downturn and financial woes for many public school districts have made it difficult for schools to improve the teacher-to-student ratio.
According to a recent New York Times article, schools in New York City anticipate an increase in class size this year. The same is true for schools across the nation where budget cuts and reductions in staff have left teachers packing more students into their classrooms.
My daughter’s school made teacher cuts at the end of 2010-2011 school year that have resulted in larger class sizes for some grade levels. The biggest hit was first grade, where the number of grade-level teachers was reduced from five to four. Each teacher has an average of seven more students when compared to last year. I applaud the teachers as they’ve handled the change beautifully. Still, the classrooms seem cramped, with the lack of storage and addition of desks.
Most states have policies in place that limit the number of students allowed in each class. Check out this map at Education Week to see your state’s limits.
Have you seen an increase in class size in your district? What challenges do you face because of the larger class sizes?