Small class sizes are key to improving student learning. CTA believes that small class sizes, particularly in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, allows for the optimum development of a student’s potential and ensure individual attention to each student.
A reasonable goal for California’s class size is a program that places California in the upper quartile of low class sizes in the United States. Right now, California has the largest class sizes in the country.
CTA fought to establish the state’s current Class Size Reduction program, which limits class sizes to 20 students in kindergarten through third grade. That program must be expanded to all grades.
Research proves smaller classes improve student learning. According to a June 2002 study by the Public Policy Institute of California, five of the state’s largest school districts reported significant test score gains since the state’s class size reduction program began. Third-grade test scores increased 14% in math and 9% in reading in schools with mostly low-income students.
Smaller classes are especially vital for high-need students. Class size reduction in the L.A. Unified School District increased reading scores by 9.5%, math scores by 13.9% and language scores by 14.5%, according to an April 2001 study by Vital Research. The effects of class size reduction for “high-need” children are nearly double those of children in educationally advantaged neighborhoods – reading scores increased by 19.5%, math scores by 29.2% and language scores by 22.5% for high needs students.
Parents and teachers know smaller class sizes work. Smaller classes mean students are getting more valuable one-on-one attention from teachers – leading to higher academic performance. In addition, more than 70% of voters believe reducing class sizes is a very effective way to improve public schools.