Class sizes are growing to balance school budgets, reports AP. According to one estimate, 44 percent of districts are increasing class sizes.
In Los Angeles, K-3 classes will rise from 20 to 24 students, middle school classes to 35 and 11th and 12th grade classes to 43.
A Tennessee study showed long-term gains for classes of 14 to 17 students in the early grades, especially for blacks. However, small classes in higher grades don’t produce significant performance gains, says researcher Eric Hanushek.
“All the research suggests the number of kids is much less important than who is teaching the class,” said Hanushek, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “In the face of budget problems, allowing class size to move a little bit makes all the sense in the world.”
“In fact, to the extent you put ineffective teachers into classrooms, you’re much better off by keeping larger classes with effective teachers,” he said.
However, layoffs are based on seniority, not effectiveness, so there’s no guarantee the larger classes will be taught by good teachers, AP notes. Senior teachers may be shifted to assignments for which they’re not well-suited.