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BLOG: 31 Kids in a Kindergarten Classroom is Just Too Many! (PETITION)

To the Davis School Board: please prioritize class size reduction in K-3 classrooms!

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.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

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!

http://www.change.org/petitions/davis-joint-unified-school-district-board-of-education-please-prioritize-class-size-reduction-in-k-3-classes?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_after_sign

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Cfranc January 23, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Interesting to see how attitudes have changed so much on class sizes. During my school years, classes were always around 30 or 30+ students, beginning in kindergarten. Apparently it was considered normal at the time.
Jennifer Mason Wolfe January 24, 2013 at 02:19 AM
It is very hard to be an effective teacher with large class sizes. In junior high, to spend meaningful time interacting with 34 students individually in class periods of 50-55 minutes is quite challenging.
Shelly Gilbride January 24, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Yes, it probably was. There were many things considered normal 30 years ago that we know now to be outdated or wrong. I would hope that with all of the research and resources put into education policy, that our kids would and could get a better education than we had.
Jennifer January 24, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Shelly- thanks for taking the lead on this very important issue. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful teacher for our kinders right now... but even the best teacher is limited in her abilities due to the number of kids in the class. And unfortunately, I don't think all parents k-3 in the district can say the same for their teacher- this puts tremendous pressure on teachers, who are human, and it can be very overwhelming (classrooms are not any bigger) and in reality- behavior becomes priority over education- due to the large number of kids and limited adult attention. I have 3 kids and I have seen from kindergarten with 18 kids, then numbers moved up to 25, and that was significant. Now at 31, it's just not fair to this generation of kids to cheat them of a great educational start. The stress, the limitations on resources due to larger class sizes, the decreased time available for critical learning, esp if a student needs a little extra attention;. It's just not possible with the numbers so large. I hope our community again will support K-3 reduced class sizes, whether they have a child in K -3 or not. Our community is one that prides itself on strong educational foundation- we need to get back to supporting the start of a strong foundation. Thanks again- keep up the hard work!

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