When you say class sizes have gone up and we’re cutting jobs, what does that look like?
In our school, our community would like to have kindergarten class sizes of 18-20, which would require us to have 19 kindergarten teachers and classrooms. This year we only have 15 kindergarten classes with up to 24 students in each class. And two years ago, we eliminated kindergarten instructional assistants, so teachers do not have the additional support our students need.
When we think about class size, think of it as a fraction of a teacher’s time and attention for each child. If we have a class of 25 students in middle school, each student should get 1/25th of that teacher's time and attention. But, now we have 36 in a class, and that fraction shrinks to 1/36th of the teacher’s time. Those 11 extra students reduce individual attention by more than 40%. Students won’t be able to get the individualized help they may need from their teachers. Additionally, classroom overcrowding increases disruptions and discipline issues, meaning the teacher may have even less time for instruction and also may not have enough space in the room for hands-on activities. A Cambridge-Isanti Schools teacher reports: “My class sizes (7th-grade science) are 34-37 and growing as kids move into the district. My budget for lab supplies is less than 1/3 of what it was when I started teaching here 17 years ago.” Cutting jobs and increasing class sizes put a strain on our teaching staff, and the District wants to retain the excellent teachers and staff we have.