So, How Big Are Your Classes This Year?

…and how late have the buses been?

Teach long enough in NC public schools and you understand more how the terms “allotment” and “teacher points” drive a school’s ability to have enough teachers.

One common thread I have heard from many teachers throughout my district is that classes (number of students in each classroom) are huge. If this state is boasting such a surplus in its budgets and brags about how we can lower taxes because we do not spend what is all taken in then why are so many teachers without enough desks for all students?

Consider a couple of possible explanations.

First, there is no new budget. Schools are operating on recurring funds that were established before the pandemic. Mini-bills can be passed that affect spending, but our General Assembly has not come up with a new budget in years. When the biggest budget item in our state is public education, then the effects in budgeting get felt quickly and easily.

There are enough studies to show how class sizes affect learning. We know what is optimum for students and schools as far as ratios in each classroom are concerned. North Carolina just refuses to invest in all of that.

Here is another reason that seems to be just as plausible – too many vacant positions. In my school system, this data table was presented at the school board meeting just this evening:

Those students have to be taught in classrooms. Just because they have vacancies does not mean that we automatically have subs in place for them.

That lack of people and candidates also is a reflection of how this state has been treating the teaching profession. Take away graduate degree pay, stagnate wages for veteran teachers, and eliminate due-process rights and you will make the profession suffer.

Consequently, students suffer and communities suffer.

And our district is also down over 60 bus drivers. Like classes, those buses and all of those students who rely on them still have to be driven.

The General Assembly can do a lot to help both situations because these vacancies are happening everywhere.

One thought on “So, How Big Are Your Classes This Year?

  1. I taught in North Carolina for thirty-one years. Limited to my experiences inside the four walls of my classroom, with my curriculum and my students, my career could not have been more rewarding, more fulfilling. Could not. As a job, given education’s status as a perennial political football, it couldn’t have been more frustrating. Couldn’t. Everyone, at heart, knows essential educational truths, among them the profound significance of class size on teaching and learning. As an investment, one would be hard pressed to find a better one than reducing class size. But ultimately, the only currency the state’s legislature is willing to invest, has ever been willing to invest, is lip service.

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