Class size matters. When I first started teaching in the PVUSD, there were more than 30 first graders in my class. Hard as I tried to know each student’s individual progress in language arts, math, English as a Second Language, social studies and science, when it came to writing report cards, I was bewildered. I worked at teaching 7 days a week, without exaggeration. How could I know so little about almost everybody?
Fast forward to the first glorious year of class size reduction with the cap at 20 children. I was amazed at the difference – the report cards almost wrote themselves. For the first time I felt like I could communicate to parents what they deserved to know about the academic and social progress of their children.
The District decision makers know class size matters or they wouldn’t have reduced class size for First Grade. They say First Grade is a “critical year” because, supposedly, that’s the year children learn to read. As a former First Grade teacher, I agree it’s an important year. I also know that what I’m able to accomplish as a First Grade teacher largely depends on how well Kindergarten teachers prepare the students they send to me. I want class size reduced in Kindergarten! Second Grade teachers prepare students to take standardized tests for the first time. What’s not critical about that? Which part of Third Grade isn’t critical? In other words – this can’t be a surprise to anyone – every year of a child’s education is critical. You can’t “cut out” a “critical year” in a system where progress is built year upon year.
There’s money in the coffers to reduce class size starting next year and this should be the top priority. Please call the superintendent, call the School Board members if you agree.