Next school year a number of valuable student facing programs are at risk of being eliminated at all grade levels. One program at risk again and of particular interest to me is class size reduction in Kindergarten through 3rd grade (K-3). Several concerned parents came up with a solution for those who value the program to determine if we can protect class sizes in K-3 for next year.
If this is a program of interest to you, we could use your support. With 4,000 students in K-3, it only takes $325/student to save it. Pledges are being collected by June 10th to
determine if there is enough support to save the program. Money will be collected via Pleasanton Partners in Education (PPIE) by June 24 only if enough support can be gained to save the program at 25 students to 1 teacher in K-3. To learn more and make your pledge please visit: www.pleasantoncsr.org.
There is debate over whether class size matters, but here are a few things to think about.
Yes class size reduction is costly. However what is the cost of not having smaller class sizes? Class sizes were reduced to 20 students in the mid 1990's to meet the new California education standards. Reading, writing and math are now critical skill sets taught in kindergarten and much of the content has been pushed one grade level earlier. However in the fall of 2011, there will be 50% more children in a K-3 classroom than originally designed to meet these higher standards. Each of these children will receive 33% less individual time with the teacher.
Children require one on one attention from their teacher to assess their performance and help them to achieve these standards. It has been determined if a child is not reading at or above standard by the end of 1st grade, they only have a 20% chance of ever achieving reading standard.
Given that the educational standards have not changed, what we'll see in a class of 30 children in K-3 is that opportunities to meet the individual student's need will be gone. Teachers will be forced to choose what ability level they teach the group as a whole - is it the lowest common denominator, the middle or the highest?
So I wonder, is it realistic to expect the same positive results we've had over the last 15 years with this equation? We need to ensure a strong foundation in K-3 because these early years will help children develop the building blocks for all of their subjects going forward. It will be challenging for our young learners to achieve the standards without the support of their teachers in a smaller class that can cater to all levels.
For those who value class size reduction, we can still make a difference for next year if we act now. To learn more and make your pledge please visit: www.pleasantoncsr.org.