Reduce Class Size
LAUSD’s class sizes are among the biggest in California. Students have a better chance to succeed with smaller classes.
“I am a senior at UCLA Community School. After graduation, I plan to be the first person in my family to go to college. In order to prepare myself, I enrolled in pre-calculus. It’s supposed to be a small class because the subject is so challenging. Instead, the class is packed. More than 40 of us are stuffed into the classroom—we even have to share desks. Though my peers sometimes need extra help from our teacher, she has so many other students that it can be hard to keep her attention. Being in such an overcrowded space can make it really difficult to focus on learning.”
Student, UCLA Community School
“I teach special education at a San Fernando Valley public school, close to where I grew up. I started this school year with 26 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students—and no assistant assigned to my class! My students require smaller group instruction and all have Individualized Education Plans that address their needs. With so many students, it’s difficult to cover my lesson plan for the day. Students lose focus as I try to answer their questions and assess their comprehension. Ten of my third graders were recently reassigned to the primary special education classroom, which now has 18 students in kindergarten, first, second, and third grade. I share classroom space with the primary special education teacher; we have to constantly move desks around and rearrange the classroom to make sure all of our students will fit. It is almost impossible to teach in small groups because of the lack of space and support.”
Special Education Teacher, Morningside Elementary School
Just the Facts
In LAUSD, there are class-size averages and caps in district policy memos and in contracts. However, Section 1.5 of the class-size article in the UTLA/LAUSD contract allows the district to unilaterally ignore those caps and averages if it chooses. Every year the district has done so, rendering caps and averages meaningless, and leading to outrageous class sizes.
Smaller class sizes help our students learn and thrive. Research supports the common-sense idea that smaller classes allow teachers to be more effective and enable students to learn more.1 Small class sizes in early grades are linked to higher graduation rates, higher rates for graduating with honors, and lower dropout rates. They have also been shown to improve students’ cognitive skills, such as engagement and attentiveness, and increase their likelihood of attending and graduating college.2 Teachers are better able to provide one-on-one instruction and communicate effectively with families. Students from low-income families, and students in the primary grades (K-3), particularly benefit from smaller class sizes.3 Section 1.5 must be removed from the UTLA/LAUSD contract, and LAUSD must stop unilaterally increasing class sizes.
1 Schazanbach, D.W., “Does Class Size Matter?” National Education Policy Center (NEPC). Feb. 2014.
2 Ibid p. 4-6
3 Mosteller, F., “The Tennessee Study of Class Size in the Early School Grades.” Princeton University. The Future of Children Vol. 5, No. 2,Critical Issues for Children and Youths (Summer – Autumn, 1995). p.113