There are many schools in the nation that do not have the budget to develop smaller classroom sizes. As a result, one teacher must come equipped to handle thirty plus students in their classroom. Several teachers find it harder to teach a larger number of students, because they are unable to give each child that “one on one” direction. One school district in the Sacramento area is determined to change the ratio of students to teachers for the next school year.
Unified School District plans to reduce class size
The Unified School District in Sacramento City plans to reduce class sizes for thousands of students between kindergarten and third grade. Currently, the average number of students per teacher in the district is 30:1, but the district would like to see a ratio of 24:1. Many believe that this will help improve learning, especially in those first, prime years of elementary school, when students are developing basic learning skills.
Teachers will also be able to organize the classroom so that it is not overcrowded, allowing more space for educational activities. In order to reduce class size, the district will have to employ more teachers, which is great for the job market. Sacramento City Unified has 47 schools, and plans to add 75 new teachers to meet the needs of the new classroom ratio.
Main reasons for the ratio change
A new formula throughout the state of California will provide districts more money if they reduce their classroom sizes by the year 2020. Jose Banda, the Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District stated that they would be following through on what the state of California has set as a requirement. He believes smaller class sizes are better for both kids and teachers. Classroom sizes were largely talked about to be reduced during the 2015-2106 school year, however nothing was ever put into place. The reason classroom sizes average about 30 students is because of budget cuts and economic hardships. Fortunately, as time has gone on, the economy has improved and the state is able to provide schools with better funding. This change in classroom size is expected to cost the district about $7.5 million per year, to include salary and benefits to new employees.
A look at changes in the future
In creating new ratio classroom sizes for students and teachers, the Sacramento City Unified School District will be on target for the way several other districts in the state operate. Several Sacramento teachers have long advocated for smaller classroom sizes, and are happy that the district will implement classroom size reduction in the following school year. The reduction to 24 students in grades K-3 might not happen right away.
They might be able to reduce to 27:1, one year, and eventually make it to 24:1 by 2017. It is the hope of many teachers that this change happen in the older grades as well.
Liz Guillen, director of legislative and community affairs for Public Advocates, says that the district could use extra state funding to reduce class sizes in other grades. This extra funding is usually provided for education for English learners, low-income students, and foster students.