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Nebraska Schools Seek Legislative Solution for Growing Class Sizes

Nebraska Schools Seek Legislative Solution for Growing Class Sizes

The Nebraska State Education Association's annual delegate assembly overwhelmingly approved a class-size resolution to promote smaller class sizes in order to address concerns that class sizes in the state's public schools are growing too big.

According to an article on Omaha.com, "Nebraska public schools used to receive incentives in state aid for smaller elementary class sizes, but the incentive expired for the 2012-13 school year." As a result, teacher-student ratios have been "creeping up" in recent years.

Many studies have supported the claim that lower teacher-student ratios promotes student achievement.

A 20-year-old study that serves as the model for more recent studies showed significant gains for students in small classrooms. "The Tennessee Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio found kindergarten pupils in classes of 13 to 17 students were about a month ahead of their peers in classes of 22 to 25 students at year’s end," the article said.

"Small class sizes help close the achievement gap, raise graduation rates, improve student behavior and make it easier to identify learning disabilities," The Nebraska teachers union said.

One district's Superintendent, Jim Sutfin, noted that despite adding 900 students since 2010 in his district but lost 20 certified teachers in that time period. The district is the third-largest in Nebraska with 23,000 students, according to the article.

Sutfin, like many educators and parents in Nebraska, hopes that the new resolution to keep class sizes at teacher-student ratios recommended by research will benefit all involved.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

04/27/2015

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