Monday, May 2, 2011

Cali's K-12 Hordes

Typical California Class Size? (Image by EddieHosa)
Class sizes have been growing in California for the past several years, due primarily to budget cuts. The state has slashed $20 billion from K-12 education over the last three years, and is set to cut another $4 billion next year.

In Oakland, K-3 class sizes could jump 30% from 23 to 30, according to the Bay Citizen. The Sunnyvale School district expects to see K-3 class sizes increase from 20 to 23. Cupertino expects to increase class sizes for grades 6-8, as well as 1-3. However, California State School Board President Michael Kirst says some schools may see K-4 classes approach 40 students.

Supposedly the state has a $1.3 billion per year class size reduction program. Fifteen years ago, the state mandated a strict class size limit for grades K-3 of 20 students per teacher. However, starting in 2009, the state relaxed its class size requirements, allowing school districts to still collect state class size reduction subsidies even if their class sizes rose as high as 28 or 30 students.

Of course this is all irrelevant. Education experts like Arne Duncan and Bill Gates insist that class size doesn’t matter (contrary to most of the research). Arne Duncan even said he would rather have his own kids in a class of 28 with a “good” teacher, than in a class of 23 with a mediocre teacher. However, a class size of 28 must sound pretty good to California’s teachers who have had more than 30 kids per class for years. It is also pretty hypocritical coming from a guy who went to a private school with an average class size of 19 (see Value Subtracted: Ed Reform’s Privileged Private School Brats).

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