Class Sizes, Again


(Guest post by Greg Forster)

OCPA carries my article on class sizes:

California enacted a big class-size reduction policy in 1996. It sounded easy when it was pitched to voters, but it ended up costing the state billions of dollars. And it produced no measurable improvement in any education outcomes—not test scores, not graduation rates, nothing.

Alas, the lesson was not learned. Florida enacted an even more ambitious class-size reduction policy in 2002. It cost the state $20 billion to implement as it was scaled up over eight years, and costs between $4 billion and $5 billion to maintain every year. And it produced no positive effect on education outcomes.

Let me know what you think!

3 Responses to Class Sizes, Again

  1. Michael F. Shaughnessy says:

    As usual, in instances like this- we need more information- other than just ” class size was reduced”. Often teachers are fine with large classes as long as there are no violent, aggressive, assaultive destructive students in the class and as long as there are no discipliner problems in the class. Class sizes can be reduced- but at the same time- the number of students with special needs might actually be increased in these instances- a really competent teacher may end up with more students with ADD or ADHD or more students on Section 504.
    We also need to take a very very long look at ” California” as northern California is quite different from Southern California. And of course Florida is quite different from California- but the culture of Florida is also different. Just some preliminary thoughts.

  2. […] Source: Class Sizes, Again | Jay P. Greene’s Blog […]

  3. pdexiii says:

    During the recent fiasco known as the UTLA strike ‘class-size reduction’ was one of their primary ruses…er…desires.
    Putting a math teacher hat on, not once did I hear Caputo-Pearl say “we want all middle schools to have an average of 28 and a cap of 32.” You didn’t hear it because the moment you pick a number you realize that if a neighborhood school has more students than that ratio, you have only 2 choices: move students (zip code barriers prevent this), or move teachers..wait…union contract/tenure prevents this.
    Also, explain how a district that just completed a literal school-construction binge, coupled with losing 200k students over the same time period, has classes with 35-45 students in them?
    UTLA wanted a charter moratorium because if more opened, even more people would leave.

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