Ethan Ackland

Class Size Struggles

The average American class size is growing every year as thousands of teachers are laid off. These classes need to shrink and the teacher population needs to grow.

Dear President,

After being in multiple years of seminar classes with combined grades, I have had the true experience of seeing what a large class is like. I have seen the ups and the downs, the successes and the fails. And I have not been the only one to notice the struggles surpassing the triumphs. Public schools are making budget cuts and spending money in unwise ways, causing a depletion of teachers, and in result, growing class sizes. The students in these oversized learning environment can suffer from lack of connection with the teacher, thus dragging down their grades.

The main cause of this issue is in the economics of the school. Money is constantly being spent in ways that appear to be good for the school, but do no good at all. As an eighth grade student, I have seen just about three years of computer purchasing in one school. We not only have about 1,000 older laptops, but iPads for many classes, new yoga laptops for the 6th grade, and new yoga chromebooks for the 7th and 8th grade. These new laptops that we take home, are touchscreen, and according to Lenovo™, cost about $450 each. With around 800 seventh and eighth graders in the school, we get a total of about $360,000. That is enough money to pay five teachers in California a slightly higher-than-average salary for a year.

This spending of money causes there to be less money to pay teachers. As a result, the district is forced to employ less teachers, thus enlarging class sizes. Not only the students, but also the teacher and parents struggle in the situations brought up by a large class. There is the obvious loss of individualized attention from the teacher to the student, in which the teacher just does not have the extra time to devote to a student who may be struggling or falling behind. The teacher can also flounder, trying to keep a multitude of children under control while trying to cram each and every one of their heads with useful information. The parents of a child in an oversized class are prone to dealing with some of their student’s stress of possibly missing vital information in the class that their parents have long forgotten.

Some critics see class size as an irrelevant part of education and think that schools gain by employing few teachers. After all, that does leave more money to spend on other educational tools. However, this means that students will not get the personal connection with the teacher that is best for a learner. Students with disadvantages and disabilities struggle the most. According to Princeton University, the test scores of low-income African American elementary students increased by ten percentage points when they were in a smaller class. They will be the ones who will fall behind and not be able to get the help they need and deserve.

So I am asking you to do something about this Mr. President. If there is any way to simply fund education a little bit more. Or maybe all it needs is a set amount for the maximum number of students for every teacher. I am not a politician, and so I leave the final decisions up to you. You are the leader of our country and would assume that you have enough intellect to know that we are your future. We are your tomorrow. So it is up to you now. What will you do with your future, our future?


Ethan Ackland