About 2 months ago, I started talking to fellow Davis parents about how disappointed I am that my son’s kindergarten class has over 30 kids in it. Almost every single parent I spoke to felt the same way. With verbal support from many parents and teachers, I have decided to move forward and make my concerns known. Now that the budget has past, I plan to give public comment at the Davis Unified School District School Board meeting, urging the board to prioritize class size reduction, particularly for K-3 classrooms.
There is a vast amount of conflicting research on class size reduction. Most of the research concludes that class size reduction is impactful, especially in early grades. What seems to be undisputed, and what every parent knows intrinsically, is that the most impactful learning tool for young children is individual attention. No matter how well-trained, engaged and competent a teacher is, individualized attention is virtually impossible in a class of 31 children. My son’s teacher is fantastic. She is passionate about teaching and she is extremely knowledgeable, flexible and creative in managing her overstuffed classroom. But this situation is inhibiting her ability to really teach and it is jeopardizing our kids’ long-term educational future.
The most cited research on class size reduction is the STAR study from the late 80s. (Yes, a lot of the research is very dated.) In that study, class sizes were reduced from 22 students to 15. The LARGE classrooms had 22 kids. We are at 31 kids in a classroom here in Davis, way beyond the scope of the research! Another comparative study indicated that teacher effectiveness is more impactful than class size reduction. We have effective teachers in Davis and we shouldn’t have to choose between effective teachers and effective class size. This is a town that prides itself on “the quality of its educational institutions” (cityofdavis.org). High quality education should start in the kindergarten classroom.
I know that the school district has been put under tremendous financial pressure in recent years. I appreciate that there are many competing priorities in education. I just want this concern to be given the consideration it deserves. We need to give our young children a strong educational foundation and ensure their future.
So, if you agree that class size reduction should be a high priority for the Davis School Board, please sign the petition below. Thanks!