Bill would allow districts to phase in 15 pupil K-3 classes
April 04, 2005
"Smaller class sizes for children are a priority for parents in this state," Representative Croft said. "This bill gives teachers time to teach, students time to learn, and schools the funding they need to support real education in Alaska."
Research suggests that class sizes must be reduced to 15 or less before students really benefit. Students from smaller classes continue to perform better as they move through the educational system.
"We need to invest in our youngest children so that they have the tools they need to learn," said Croft, " If kids don't get the help they need in these formative years, then we really do risk leaving them behind."
Under Representative Croft's bill, any school that commits to reducing class sizes to 15 or fewer students for grades K-3 would be eligible for a grant from the state. Grants would be administered school by school with each school committing to studying the academic progress of the students from smaller classes.
Allowing districts to decide when and how to reduce class sizes prevents problems that could be caused by a law that requires all schools to make reductions immediately.
"Because of the demands of hiring new teachers and creating space for new classrooms, other states have created problems for school districts when they suddenly mandated reduced class size.' said Croft, "Schools should be able to work with parents and their communities to decide how and when they can take this step."