I Believe Elementary Class Sizes Need to Be Reduced

Bobbe - Zeeland, Michigan
Entered on June 1, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I ask myself why the federal government created No Child Left Behind and failed to address class size. As a kindergarten teacher I believe that class size should be capped at 17 students. I have been teaching in an overcrowded kindergarten classroom for the past three years. The first thing I notice on a day that has several students absent is the volume of the classroom. It is astonishing how much quieter a classroom can be when you have a few students absent. I would like to think that I have a strong classroom management approach or control over my students in my classroom, but on days when everyone is present and I have some exciting things planned for the day I must admit that the noise level in the classroom reaches very high levels. I have tried several different approaches to dealing with this problems but it is very difficult to bottle up the enthusiasm of 23 kindergartens. A simple solution to the problem would be to limit the class size to 17 students.

Some research indicates that students educated in a classroom with 14 to 17 students will out perform their peer in a classroom of 22-25 students, when the students are kept in the same size classroom for at least three years. As a kindergarten teacher I wonder why a school district would want to increase class size above 17 students. My goal as a teacher is to improve my student’s performance and to give my students the best possible education. But when school districts fail to address class size and keep adding students to classrooms that are all ready overcrowded it causes teachers to spend more time on behavior management and less time on instruction which decreases job satisfaction and possible performance. I believe that we must take a stance on class size. As a parent I want my own children to be afforded the same opportunities as everyone else and if the government would limit the number of students that could be placed in a classroom I believe that it would be a huge step in the right direction. I also believe that early childhood retention decreased in small class size. Some research also suggest that students who were placed in smaller class sizes for at least 3 years, achieved higher score in math, science and reading than their peers who were not in small class sizes by 6 to 13 months. As a teacher and parent I see smaller class sizes as a win for everyone involved.

As our country looks to a new President I hope that whoever the person might be; that they will take a look at No Child Left Behind and talk to the people that are impacted the most by it. That would be educators like me. My point is not to complain, my point is what is best for children and I believe that reducing class size at the early elementary level will have a positive result in every students life.