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Does Class Size Matter? The LPP Community says ‘Yes’

By Pamela Moreland

Class size matters, especially to educators who have very sharp–and sometimes divided–opinions on the issue.

Image courtesy Texas Tribune

Image courtesy Texas Tribune

Recently, the Lesson Plans Page Facebook community debated the question “Does Class Size Matter?”  The springboard for the discussion was a decision by Texas lawmakers to hand out exemptions to the K-3 class size mandates to nearly one-third of the state’s 1,480 elementary schools. Faced with reductions in state education funding, some educators said capping classes at 22 students had become a financial burden.

Some Texas lawmakers said there is little data showing that small class sizes translate into higher academic achievement. Others disagree by saying smaller classes allow for more personal attention.  Here’s what some members of the Lesson Plans Page say.

 Pat Corbin Davis:  “If money is the main concern, do not worry about class size. If you are concerned about the quality of the education, class size is an important part of the equation.

“After teaching primary grades for 35 years, I can tell you that the group, dynamics change when you have a class size larger than 18. It changes again when you go over 21 and again at 25 etc. and the change is not for the better. The largest class I ever taught had 32 children.

“It has been proven to me over and over again that you cannot give a teacher an enormous class and then assign them a part-time or full-time Para-professional and fix the situation.”

Linda Vinson: “The only people who wonder if class size impacts achievement are people who don’t know kids!”

Lisa Case Barbarino: “Quality, modern teaching and learning that will meet the needs of today’s students, requires smaller classes. Traditional learning with outdated teaching methodologies can handle larger numbers. In the end ‘you get what you pay for.’ ”

Valerie Stuch Johnson: “As a sub and a pre-service teacher, I’d say yes class size absolutely does matter. Especially when the kids are so crammed in there’s barely room for their feet, much less for them to move.”

Tracy Chamberlin: “How about not enough desks for students?  I had that happen in two classes. I had kids sitting at the teacher’s desk, on tables, and radiators. Never mind useful math centers, individual groups areas etc., it was direct instruction all the way. Sometimes it was hard for me to get to the kids to help them on their work!”

Dorethia Myers:  “ In some countries teachers have very large classes and students learn. Teacher training programs need to give teachers strategies in dealing with teaching in various class sizes.”

Jackie McDowell Wunnicke: “More than 22 in a class is way too many! If they want scores to go up, they need to keep class size down.”

 Chery Trayford Evans: “Does class size matter?  Yes, without a doubt!”

Theresa Griffin Garcia: “The problem here in Central Texas is the increase of enrollment and there is not money to build more classrooms. I was pretty lucky and had 17 this last year. But we rezoned again so my year of small class size is gone. It’s OK, I deal with cards I’m dealt.”

Adrianne Rogers Schmidt: “I would take a cap of 22, because here in Accomack County Va., the cap is 30.”

Krista Snyder:  “I would love only 22 students.”

Tracy Chamberlin:  “Achievement increases with smaller classes. This is a totally ‘duh’ moment. Smaller class sizes equals more one-to-one time with the teacher. Having taught small classes and large (30 or more) I can vouch for the fact that literally when you have smaller classes that truly ‘no child is left behind.’ ”

Kimberly Krosner: “We have 36 in California. It is way too many.  Twenty-two would be awesome. Next they are going to ask why scores are going down. D’ oh!

Vicky Chalk:  “You haven’t lived until you’ve had 38 in a kindergarten class.”

James L Vaughan: “The real problem here isn’t class size; it’s trying to teach in Texas!”

Rickey Cavazos: “Well if it doesn’t matter, then why are districts across the country asking teachers to implement small group instruction and why are so many universities capping their enrollment and cap their class sizes? Texas wants high quality without having to pay for it.”

Ronett Alfaro:  “Class size is important. With more than 22, students don’t get the quality of small groups for reading and individualized attention for writing. In kindergarten, you not only have to teach letters and sounds, but also sight words and reading. In math, the kids have to not only know numbers, but also how to add, subtract and problem solve.

“Young kids can get these concepts, because they are little sponges, but they need small classes to teach these concepts in various styles because everyone is different.”

Sandra Morris: The size of a class? Of course it matters …

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