Class size: After state board vote Monday, the sky’s the limit

(Updated by me at 10:30 Monday night with interviews with local systems, experts)

The state Board of Education voted Monday to lift all limits on class sizes over the next year in response to the deepening school budget crisis that has already forced thousands of teacher layoffs, the loss of music and arts programs and shorter school years in some Georgia districts.

Described as an emergency response to a worsening financial climate, The 9-2 vote means that Georgia school districts can raise class size by 5five, 10, 15 students — or as many students as they choose — without seeking a waiver from the board or the Department of Education.

The vote essentially guts the prevailing state rules that mandated 23 students or fewer in k-3 and 28 in grades 4-8.

“I want to understand — we are giving school boards the right to decide in any class, in any grade and in any subject matter the ability to have any class size they want?” asked state board member James E. Bostic Jr.

Yes, said state school Superintendent Kathy Cox. “We wouldn’t have the authority to tell them no.”

Entrusted with this new freedom, local school boards can be counted on to act responsibly and not to raise class sizes to levels where students suffer, said Cox.

In the metro Atlanta area, counties contacted Monday said they have no intentions of suddenly supersizing their classes.

“We have got to trust the local school boards are going to do right by their students and by student achievement,” Cox said after a board member balked at eliminating all caps on class size.

Cox pointed out that state funding to schools has been cut by nearly $1 billion by the Legislature in the past year. “We don’t have a choice. We didn’t give them enough money.” “We are not providing the resources for local systems to conduct business as usual.”

But board member Linda M. Zechmann countered that parents and schools expect the state Board of Education to set limits and that the board was abdicating its oversight role in removing any ceiling on how many students can be in a classroom.

“In my experience in the field, people rely on us for boundaries,” she told her fellow board members.

In August, the state board approved a policy allowing school systems to raise class size by two students in k-8 classrooms. However, if a school district wanted a larger increase or wanted to raise class sizes in high schools, it had to seek a waiver from the board, and 106 systems have done so in the past nine months. The waiver process required state Department of Education employees to review the district’s request and performance data and make a recommendation to the board, which Cox described as too time-consuming during a period when cash-strapped districts need to be able to act quickly and decisively on their budgets.

Zechmann offered a motion that would allow schools to raise class sizes only by 20 percent, but it was defeated by her colleagues who felt that any limits would only aggravate already frustrated systems.

“It’s just for one year, one year,” said board member Brian K. Burdette. “We can’t say we are going to give systems more flexibility and then tie their hands.”

The vote represents a setback to an ambitious plan initiated a decade ago to reduce Georgia’s class sizes. In 1998, kindergartens housed 27 children and fourth grade had 33 students. Georgia brought those numbers down considerably, capping kindergarten at 22 students and fourth grade at 28.

Metro counties contacted Monday said they have no intentions of suddenly supersizing their classes.

In the Atlanta area, here’s a look at what school district representatives said Monday after the vote:

*   City of Atlanta: “The district’s budget for FY11 has already been developed and approved by the School Board. It includes slight increases in average class sizes for all grade levels, but the resultant class sizes remain within state limits. The district does not anticipate having to use the state’s recent lessening of class size restrictions option at this point,” said spokesman Keith Bromery.

*   Clayton County: “As of today, the only class-size change Clayton County Public Schools is planning to implement for 2010-11 is increasing our kindergarten class size from 23 to 25 students. Each kindergarten classroom will be staffed by a teacher and a paraprofessional,” said Clayton schools spokesman Charles White.

*   Cobb County: “In Cobb, we anticipated the need to increase class sizes for the coming school year and planned accordingly by seeking waivers last fall and earlier this spring,” said Cobb schools spokesman Jay Dillon. “We do not anticipate a need to increase class sizes further than what we’ve already requested. In fact, after a preliminary review of our current status and the allotment of teachers for next school year, we are confident that the worst fears about overflowing classrooms will not happen in Cobb. Many classes will see a marginal increase of two or three, and in some cases four of five students, but we don’t foresee any overflowing classrooms or unmanageable situations.”

*   DeKalb County: “Our budget is already set, and we are raising class sizes by two students,” said DeKalb schools spokesman Dale Davis. “We will take this new state policy under advisement.”

*   Fayette County: “We will not take advantage of the new rule for increasing class sizes. We have already set our class sizes to the rule that was implemented last year,” said Fayette schools spokeswoman Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.

*   Fulton County: “We have no plans to go to the board and say that we have been given carte blanche now and let’s raise class size even higher,” said Fulton schools spokeswoman Allison Toller. Fulton parents can expect class sizes of 23 or less in the early grades and 30 students starting in fourth, she said. However, if the system was faced with one or two students arriving last minute and pushing class sizes beyond those limits, Toller said Fulton then might take advantage of the new flexibility.

*   Gwinnett County: Under a flexibility contract, Gwinnett is not affected by the state board policy as it sets its own class sizes. (The system has announced plans to raise class size next year by one student.)

Georgia is not alone in its abandonment of class size ideals in the face of a depleted state coffers. Over the weekend, 35,000 people showed up at the New Jersey Statehouse to protest the governor’s plan to increase class sizes there. In the Los Alamitos Unified School District in California, the schools are asking parents to donate $225 per child to prevent a jump in class sizes. Texas, which was one of the first states to mandate strict class sizes, is considering getting rid of its 25-year-old standards.

And there is a district-led campaign in Florida to revise a 2002 constitutional amendment capping class sizes at 18 students for kindergarten through third grade, 22 in fourth through eighth grade, and 25 in high school. The law was being phased in, and districts were supposed to be in full compliance this year.

One of the arguments being made in Texas and Florida is that there is no strong evidence that the expensive, smaller classes lead to improved student performance.

“Teachers and parents and even students are big fans of smaller class sizes, but the research is really not as supportive,” says Susan Walker, policy and research director for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Research shows the benefits of smaller class size in kindergarten and first grade, says Walker, “but once you get past that, there is really no evidence that it makes a positive impact on student achievement.” More critical in those upper grades is teacher quality, she says.

University of Georgia language and literacy education professor Peter Smagorinsky offered another view: “From the standpoint of an ex-English teacher in three high schools, I can say that the more students you have, the less time you can spend on any one student. Do the math: If you have 120 students [which is a relatively low load] and spend one minute on each every day, that’s two hours of work outside class. Add 50 or 80 more students, and the problem becomes more acute. Now consider the teaching and grading of writing. Let’s say that you spend 15 minutes grading each student essay. That’s 30 hours of grading for 120 students; add 50 more and it’s a whole bunch more.”

I am torn on this decision. I understand that local systems need flexibility but I think the current requirement that class size waivers go through the state causes systems to think carefully before increasing a kindergarten class to 28 kids.

The counter argument is that it should be up to local boards and communities whether they can live with a 28-student kindergarten class, not the state board of education. The deluge of requests for waivers was also taking hundreds of hours of DOE staff time.

I would like to invite state school superintendent candidates to weigh in on this important issue.

217 comments Add your comment

Echo

May 23rd, 2010
9:42 pm

Maybe the teachers who got RIF’d are the lucky ones.

Northview (Ex)Teacher

May 23rd, 2010
9:43 pm

Well, just so long as everyone at the Central Office can keep his or her overpaid job based on “salary studies.”

I am so sick of this inbred, trailer-trash approach to everything having to do with education. And we have money to pay some semi-literate, if that, football coach almost $1 million.

Eight years of republicans, and things have just absolutely hit bottom. Counting down the days until I can leave and take my family with me.

Something fishy is going on

May 23rd, 2010
9:49 pm

C’mon Maureen; you haven’t put a feelers out, and gotten any bites on what’s really going on with the test scores not coming out?

And here’s some outside the box thinking. Why not tie increasing class size to reducing central office bureaucracy? You get a waiver if you’re willing to cut waste in central office.

Dekalbite

May 23rd, 2010
10:01 pm

Well, I guess the 8,500 admin and support people in DCSS versus the 6,800 teachers will rest easy tonight. Their jobs will be protected at all cost to students.

Why even have teachers or students? Just send in your taxes. It’s analogous to a charity that ends up with most its money going to the administration of the charity and little reaching the needy.

Dekalbite

May 23rd, 2010
10:09 pm

Consider this:
DCSS has $1,000,000,000 (yes that’s a billion dollars) as a budget. We spend $376,000,000 in teacher salaries. Add 20% benefits for a grand total of $451,000,000. Actually that figures gone down by about $18,000,000 since we chopped off 275 teacher positions last year – so let’s re-figure – $433,000,000.

That leaves $567,000,000 going to personnel who never teach children. What is wrong with this picture? I guess nothing to the state board of ed.

Source: Georgia DOE website (please go here and do your own calculations):
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=102&CountyId=644&T=1&FY=2009

Veteran teacher, 2

May 23rd, 2010
10:10 pm

Every decision has consequences. The state has consistently passed the pain for each consequence to the local BOE. This is simply another step in that process. Now, can we talk about some of the other unfunded mandates? Can they go, too?

Echo

May 23rd, 2010
10:11 pm

Just out of curiosity, even if the size limits are gone, aren’t there limits (listen up fire marshall) to how many people can be put into a single classroom at one time and still be “safe”? So 35 kids in one portable classroom is ok? What about 40? 5-6 PE classes of 50-60 each in one gym? Now what happens if someone gets hurt in an overcrowded class…who is liable?

@ Echo

May 23rd, 2010
10:21 pm

In DCSS, parents call the fire marshall with just such concerns. They were told the limits were only in cafeterias if hundreds of students were there. They had no problems with 40 kids in a classroom. If someone gets hurt, it’s the teacher’s liability. That’s the main reason teachers join GAE. It’s not a union – it’s just the only high priced insurance they can get.

Forget science labs though. Over 24 is where all the studies show accidents go up. Luckily DCSS knows this, so labs are no a requirement of science teachers. Really – I’m not being facetious.

Teacher with a job

May 23rd, 2010
10:26 pm

There is a max number of occupancy in a trailer–call the Fire Marshall if you are not sure. I did; trailers so crowded, students had to get up and stand some a student could get out the door to go to the bathroom. Teacher–I was unable to move more than a few inches.

What about AP and Sp Ed? There are Federal limits. So, grade papers for 200 students per day? Take me a week to get all that done~~better do away with a specific number of grades per week. Are you listening Supt?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Buffy Hamilton, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Class size: After state board vote Monday, the sky’s the limit http://bit.ly/cLSyWp [...]

Another Cobb Teacher

May 23rd, 2010
10:38 pm

You know….being RIF’ed was a blessing in disguise. I feel for those left.

What's going on?

May 23rd, 2010
10:58 pm

Is the delay deliberate on the test scores to make time for exit strategies to be put in place? What’s going on? Somebody has to know.

RobertNAtl

May 23rd, 2010
11:15 pm

Seriously? You’re “torn”? If the State Board called a meeting to propose waiving, for “flexibility” purposes, the requirement that students be taught in buildings that met fire codes, or waiving the requirement that students be taught by college-educated and state-certified teachers, would you be “torn” by that, too?

I’m not torn at all. I’m *pissed* at the continual abdication of responsibility by everyone in the educational hierarchy in this state.

TEACH ME

May 23rd, 2010
11:28 pm

I teach Elementary school that just increase our 5th grade to 35 students in each classroom next year.
Oh, Boy now we can go even higher.
The PE Department has 44 in one class, will they now be able to handle 100?
Next thing you know we are going to ask the Police to stop catching criminals it cost too much to feed them!

The answer is...

May 23rd, 2010
11:40 pm

How about we just stick them all in one classroom and let Sonny teach ‘em?

Ros Dalton

May 23rd, 2010
11:41 pm

Is there something I’m missing here or does an increased class size not imply further teacher firings?

Bama Bill

May 23rd, 2010
11:46 pm

The Cobb School Board and judgment coupled with class size is an impossibility ! Someone at state please help the students of Cobb. It is clear the school board and leadership could care less.

GABuckeye37

May 24th, 2010
12:05 am

Northview (Ex)Teacher, would you like to sound a little more unintelligent with your statement? That’d be nice.

Teacher Reader

May 24th, 2010
12:11 am

I am convinced the Georgia State Government does not care if the state is dead last in education. I am glad that I resigned and will homeschool my child for as long as my family is in Georgia. This is nonsense.

spf15

May 24th, 2010
12:26 am

Dekalbite: Try looking at the actual budget at http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/budget/files/FY2011%20Proposed%20Budget%20Book.pdf instead of making up numbers. I’m not disputing that too much money may be being spent outside the classroom, but your numbers are assuming that everything that is not spent directly on a teacher’s salary is going to personnel outside the classroom. That ignore transportation, books, electricity, heat, and several other things that teachers need to be effective in the classroom.

Courtney

May 24th, 2010
12:27 am

Why do we have so many prisons? Isn’t the answer obvious after reading yet another article about spending less on education of our future work force.

Jim in Ga

May 24th, 2010
12:28 am

Northview (Ex)Teacher

What coach makes almost a million a year? I need to start working on my resume if that’s the case.

Legend of Len Barker

May 24th, 2010
1:17 am

Increased class size? Awesome.

It would be even more awesome if I were still running the computer lab at my old school. I had 30 student computers. Always fantastic when we had more than 30 kids in there at the time, especially when it was for something important, like CRCT practice.

In case anyone is unsure, the above was sarcasm.

The state used to bicker about how small our rural schools were. They apparently missed the year that my father had 40 in one class. Which meant he had 40 students for two classes and a homeroom as he had seventh grade for homeroom and science and social studies for 6-8.

The state literally wants to take us back to the olden days. In the 1910s and early 1920s, state school superintendent M.L. Duggan did surveys of every school in several counties. The three most common complaints were lack of decent toilets, lack of supplies, and huge class sizes. The latter of which probably won’t differ too much if the state eases up on the class size regulation.

Someone commented on special ed: Fifteen years ago it was 15 per class without a paraprofessional and 17 with one. I know that’s changed since to more students without a paraprofessional, but I don’t know the exact figure. Not that it mattered much anyway as the parapros are every school system’s unpaid substitutes and were at the beck and call of every teacher who wanted to skip out (for a legitimate reason or otherwise) for a period or after lunch.

TeacherTeacher

May 24th, 2010
1:32 am

Can’t wait to see how GA scores compared to other states when there are larger class sizes…hmmmm, guess my children will be going to private school…and, I’m a public school teacher…oh well, the world needs people who are willing to work for minimum wage – GA will be able to provide that with the education they will be providing over the next few years…
—and, with furloughs and other cuts and the amount I have to spend to keep my classroom running well, I’d be better off having been RIF’d and on unemployment…seriously!

Gibs Girl

May 24th, 2010
3:42 am

The state of our schools is in real trouble. I fear that after tomorrow’s meeting, the schools will be in a really sad situation. My daughter is already complaining that there are so many students in her Math class, that the teachers’ don’t have enough time to answer all questions or assist students with help. Even in the after-school tutorial programs, there are so many students showing up, because during regular class time, when the teaching is supposed to occur, teachers are spending most of the period being disciplined! So with the increased class sizes, does that mean that now the teachers will spend all of the time screaming at kids who clearly don’t want to learn a thing and have no plans on attending college?

Hummon

May 24th, 2010
4:18 am

This is an extraordinary time – such things have to be done.

My fear is that with the current crowd in charge, things will stay this way when revenues are back to normal.

Mid-south Philosopher

May 24th, 2010
4:24 am

An old adage, but true, “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

Sonny, the General ASSembly, the State Board of Education, and we citizens have all chosen to pay later. But, a “pay day” is coming, for all of us!

Mid-south Philosopher

May 24th, 2010
4:34 am

An old adage, but true, “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.” Of one thing we can be sure…we will pay!

Terry Davis

May 24th, 2010
5:42 am

Each district should have their do not meets list already. The list was sent to APS last week. It’s my understanding that the district took their time to analyze the data. From what we hear, it doesn’t look that much different from last year. In fact, I hear that middle school did much better than they usually do. And elementary did about the same if not a little lower. So much for cheating in APS. My school’s data looks about the same as it was last year. We have 39% erasure. It looks like our 3rd grade did better than last years. Our 5th graders did about the same. It wasn’t good last year and isn’t much better this year.

mwilson

May 24th, 2010
5:55 am

Sad to think that the State School Superintendent makes less than most local school superintendents. Makes me sick that these superintendents are not taking pay cuts. Maybe this class size waiver will get some parents fired up and they will start asking for accountability from these overpaid superintendents.

forgotten?

May 24th, 2010
6:01 am

2 APS admins already plead guilty to cheating.

Sadtohear

May 24th, 2010
6:04 am

Our came back too. The only dip was in a grade level that had all new teachers, and half the students in that grade level were new to the school. I wonder if the ajc will say that it doesn’t matter that those kids weren’t at your school last year, or so what those same kids failed last year…the eraser report must mean something.

Grumpy

May 24th, 2010
6:06 am

I looked at some of my old elementary school class pictures. Anywhere from 23 to 26 kids per class every year. And we seemed to do OK.

The ajc has done a fantastic job exposing the bloated administrations that exist in Atlanta’s public schools. Cut one administrator, and you could save one teacher AND reduce the budget by thousands of dollars. So why hasn’t this happened?

Voice of Reason

May 24th, 2010
6:15 am

Wow the state of Georgia really has it’s priorities in line. First we lead the Nation and convictions and use all this money to house, cloth, feed ,and provide medical care to inmates. When we could cut back on this. Then we wonder why Georgia Students rank near the bottom in almost every major catgory. We have so leaders who are all about themselves. During all these budget cuts I have not heard Governor Sonny Purdue nor anyone else say that they will take a pay cut (every little but helps) while at the same time I hear people all over the state taking various Pay Cuts. Our leadership is terrible.

Private School Teacher

May 24th, 2010
6:24 am

20 years ago, we may have had 26 kids in a class, and we did okay, but we were also better behaved. It’s ridiculous the behavior that public school teachers have to deal with now. It makes that class of 26 feel like 40.

4 Jacks

May 24th, 2010
6:29 am

The state of Georgia should vote all incumbents out of office for letting our state educational system sink to a new low. Georgia has never been good in education because our represenitives could care less about my children or your children’s education. Where is all the lottery money? Why is education not an important issue? Our political leaders, if you can call them that, have continually let us and and our children down. I hope everyone will vote against all incumbents and tell the new guys if they don’t fix it we will vote them out of office too.

Status Quo

May 24th, 2010
6:42 am

Dear CCSD RIF’D teachers:
Please create a short resume of your abilities to tutor my student. At this point, why would I send my child to school in a class of 35 when students are able to behave in any manner they want with no consequence? Why would I send my child when the teacher cannot call on them, help them individually, or they wait days to get a chance to go to the “smart board”? Why would they attend when they risk injury in PE due to lack of supervision, can’t get on a computer, an instrument, or have a seat in the art room? Why would they attend if they cannot participate in after school clubs (teachers are too busy grading, and planning to continue to volunteer their time?) Why go when they have to eat lunch at 10am, don’t have a textbook, or can’t move have small group instruction – the room is too small? Have your resumes ready, as I will be calling someone who can help homeschool my student. School Board, Idiot Governor, and Legislators: I will remember your choices and how they impacted my student at election.

whats funny

May 24th, 2010
6:44 am

education is in the GA constitution; everything else should be cut before they get to education or perhaps find an alternative way of funding our schools. State wide renter fees, increase in sales tax for non-food items, open up gambling on the coast or in down town ATL, etc… It just seems the ppl in the legislature think their elected positions are about what they get out of it and not about service and sacrifice.

Old School

May 24th, 2010
6:44 am

And the broad brush sweeps across all classes yet again. Imagine a construction lab built in the early 70s when the move was to Comprehensive High Schools. Those labs were designed for a maximum of 18 students and operated safely under the guidance of men and women hired out of industry for their expertise. Nearly all those instructors were natural teachers who connected the academics inherent in all trades to the skills required by all trades. Their task was to prepare those students with job entry level skills and knowledge- which they did- and as a result, kids stayed in school and graduated.

30 kids in an English class are far safer and easier to supervise than 30 kids in a construction, metals, or automotive lab.

Fast forward to the past few years: many of those programs have been shut down and far too many more were never updated. Now they not only try to fulfill their original mission but must jump through the same research-based hoops inflicted across the board AND they must accomplish this in the same square footage with more students, fewer resources, less money, outdated equipment, aging facilities, and morales that continue to take a beating.

Yet these men and women in vocational education soldier on and continue to work miracles. I am humbled to have been a part of this hardy, caring, skilled group for the past 36 years and will continue to advocate FOR THEM however I can in my retirement.

E. Cobb Parent

May 24th, 2010
7:39 am

Well for those that feel we need local control, now is the time to see if local control can make decent decisions. If Cobb puts 24 or more in a K class then we know the central office has once again shown poor management. I think Cobb purposely is going that route in order to get everyone on board with raising the millage. Look at the bloated Central Office (that the AJC barely brought to light), the Central Office is spend, spend, spend on salaries for nonessential staff. Reminds me of Nero if he really did say “Let Rome Burn”. Fred is doing the same; all so he can get more money.

As other posters said, I believe KC and others have purposely withheld information to cover how bad things really are and the AJC has gone along with it and you call yourselves journalists! You aren’t even writers, you are taken dictation.

As for those that are looking at party lines, open your eyes, people will run under the ticket that they think will get them elected. Ask hard questions and evaluate how those are answered, forget about the letter beside the name.

I wonder

May 24th, 2010
8:54 am

… can a district file for bankrupcy? What happens then?
… can students file a law suit agaist their district, and maybe the state, for the violation of their state constitutional right?

Economicwoes

May 24th, 2010
9:03 am

Remember, Dekalb didn’t offer early retirement. If the paper is going to compare ALvin’s salary with private business then school systems need to operate similar to business. Concerned parents of Georgia have been screaming about this for the past ten years. Alvin didn’t lay off central office staff, even those who break the law by not reporting worker comp. claims much less allowing sick time off, managers who threatened their employees, discriminately fire minority employees, managers who harass ex-employees, nothing is done to these people making in excess of $90,000 per year.

Another view

May 24th, 2010
9:11 am

Districts can file for bankruptcy. You don’t want this to happen, as it makes basically all future bonds impossible due to high interest rates. Sadly, it is better to have them taken over by the state. GA simply lacks proper funding for education. Too many corporations, retired individuals, and wealthy people either pay no taxes or too little. We suffer from the idea that education should be free for all, but nobody wants to pay for that free education. Georgia is quickly becoming Atlantic coast twin of California.

@ spf15 from Dekalbite

May 24th, 2010
10:02 am

I have looked at the actual budget(s) – many times. And I’m more than aware of what is necessary to teach in a classroom.

Please ask any DCSS teacher is they have adequate service from DCSS admin ad support with respect to books, electricity, heat and air. We have many teachers who receive books for their students late and/or students who share books. We commonly have classrooms with no heat or air or too much heat or air. The heat may blast at 85 degrees so the teachers need to open their windows in January and then go for weeks in the late May with no air. HVAC is one of the poorest areas of service. The pay range for HVAC mechanics (with a high school diploma) is $43,000 to $58,000 (I’m not making that up – these and Kitchen Mechanic jobs were advertised on PATS) – around the pay for our Masters level teachers.

There is not anywhere near the technology access for our students that other metro systems have. There are 2 computers at the most in the typical classroom for 33 – now 35 students, 1,500 ACTIVboards for 6,800 teachers, and extremely limited access to technology labs. That’s why our students can’t take the benchmark tests online and have to “bubble in” and teachers scan the results.

We don’t even have enough labs for a small sample of our 8th graders to take the required state 8th Grade Technology Competency test online – they too have to “bubble in” the answers to a technology test! No wonder they do so poorly in this area.

Broken equipment, teachers buying science equipment and materials – these are commonplace in DCSS classrooms. If the classroom received stellar service from HVAC, MIS and Construction, and had abundant and cutting edge science and technology that worked, what you say would have more credibility.

Maybe you need to get out into the schools every day and model lessons to thousands of students in scores of schools. Use only what is available in the schools. You would get the perspective of the teachers and the students.

The sum of our schools is more than just what’s on paper in a budget. Book budgets are great, but books must actually get to the students in a timely manner. Heating and air budgets do not ensure adequate heat and air in a classroom. Technology budgets do not ensure that the technology works and works in the way it is supposed to work. Budgets do not ensure good customer service. Much of the backlash the admin and support side is seeing is from the exceptionally poor customer service as the parents/taxpayers are realizing they are not getting their money’s worth, and it’s negatively impacting the students. I know I’m not making that up.

LSH

May 24th, 2010
10:44 am

Do people understand that there are only so many desks that can possibly fit into a room? Not all rooms are the same size! In my old classroom, I could only physically put 35 desks into the room. I had a class of 36 (Remember, these are class size AVERAGES- not class size limits!) and I would hope that at least one kid would not show up. I could not walk around the room with all the backpacks and other things on the floor. What was going on in the back of the room? 40 more desks, 40 or more students WITH their backpacks and other things they carry around. How could this not become a health or fire hazard? It’s going to take a kid getting hurt because of these conditions for things to change.

[...] As reported by the AJC, the State School Board has removed classroom size caps for the time being. This is not a surprising turn of events as many local school boards are facing a decreased budget and have been forced to implement RIF (Reduction In Force) policies to eliminate teaching positions. The board vote means that Georgia school districts can raise class size by 5, 10, 15 — or as many students as they choose — without seeking a waiver from the state board of education. But board members contended that local school boards can be trusted to act responsibly. [...]

Anita Karnibad

May 24th, 2010
11:44 am

We are going backward not forward in every way to educate our future generation. We have come so far and now this. There must be a way other than furloughs, shorter days and now larger classrooms. FIND IT..THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE IN THE THINK TANK.

ebrjlr

May 24th, 2010
11:47 am

Where is the schools systems bail out?

Jefferson Jackson

May 24th, 2010
11:50 am

I do not believe that you have to spend $300,000.00+ to get a quality educator to be a superintendent. It just beggars belief to think that there aren’t competent educators in Georgia who could serve the educational neds of our children for substantially less than that! As for class size, I’ll say this: it is an important facor in early education (Pre-K, K, and the primary grades), but becomes less so the older the child becomes. By high school class size is isn’t important at all. You well paid superintendents, can you figure out a solution here? Isn’t it obvious what to do??

Fedup

May 24th, 2010
11:51 am

Hey, Northview ex-teacher…you have been one of the biggest sourpusses in all of these blog opportunities…are you leaving soon?