Georgia class sizes up as funding drops
by The Associated Press
July 28, 2013 10:44 PM | 2389 views | 3 3 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — Public school class sizes in Georgia have increased as districts struggle with funding cuts and falling tax revenue.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday that about 80 percent of Georgia’s 180 school districts approved plans to surpass class size caps last year. Districts are allowed to surpass class size caps as long as they get the decision to do so approved during a public meeting.

The newspaper reported that Georgia cut $4.7 billion in school funding from its budget between 2008 and 2012, and gave districts permission to exceed class size caps to compensate for it. The caps were implemented before the recession to try improving student performance.

As funding for schools declined, the state lost about 10 percent of its educators while the student population grew by about 3 percent, according to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

Increasing class sizes is a problem with educators trying to teach a more rigorous curriculum, said State School Superintendent John Barge.

“We have demanded so much from our teachers,” he said. “We cannot maintain this.”

University of Georgia education professor C. Kenneth Tanner said student performance diminishes when class size increases, and overcrowded classrooms can lead to a loss of discipline and more disruptions.

“If they’re fighting, they can’t learn,” he said of students in overcrowded classrooms. “They pester each other when they’re too close together.”

Some teachers say their class sizes have grown to the largest levels they’ve seen in decades, which makes it difficult to form personal relationships with students and conduct group discussions. Additionally, growing class sizes can force teachers to spend extra time grading certain types of assignments or avoiding them altogether.

“The class sizes are absurdly large,” said Alyssa Montooth, an English teacher at Druid Hills High School in DeKalb County. “So (most teachers) don’t assign writing. Or if they do, they put a check mark on it, and the students don’t learn from that.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 30, 2013
Priority No. 1 should be to provide support, resources and personnel to ensure optimal capability for instruction. Teacher furlough days, laying off teachers and increasing class sizes are not doing educational outcomes any good.

Spending money each year on new software and computers, teacher evaluation systems, bulky textbooks and the like, really don't solve the problem. Only, valuable money is being thrown at vendors, who are more than eager to profit from it.

Class sizes must not be compromised, so that students get adequate attention, support and instruction.
Wake Up !
July 29, 2013
Teacher & Parents - make your voices heard by Geogia's Governor, Senators & Representatives.

It will be a very, very long while before Cobb County sees significant gains in local funding.

There is no way schools will see any near-term improvement in class sizes unless Georgia restores funding to local school districts.

Senior exemption won't change.

Equalization won't change.

Put your efforts where they can make a difference - Restore State Austerity Cuts
Politicians at fault
July 29, 2013
Parents need to wake up and start calling Deals office every day. Demand more from the state because they do have the funding. They have shifted the funding for their own personal gains. Remember that Sonny Perdue got the state to fork over millions to benefit him personally with land deals. This is no different. Deal and the other lame politicians have distracted parents by blaming failing on the teachers and schools. No folks-the blame is with the politicians! Teachers are leaving the profession every day. Yes, you have new teachers coming in who are leaving by their 5-7 years. Very sad!
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