I always find it funny in my district (which continues to struggle with rapid growth) that they have implemented class size reduction in first, second and third grades, but not in kindergarten and fourth and fifth grades. I figured out awhile back that if we took the teachers that had been allocated to our school based on total enrollment and just averaged out the students to the teachers in all grades, that no class in school would have more than 20 to 22 students.
Instead though, kindergarten has between 20-25, and fourth and fifth grades have even larger class sizes. And there is some indication that kids who do well in 1st through 3rd grade have a difficult time adjusting to the larger class size in 4th and 5th. And test scores seem to show it. You know, those HIGH STAKES test scores, NCLB, etc. While they might not admit it, I believe the the underlying reason they don’t lower the numbers is financial. The one argument that I have heard from administrators regarding kindergarten is that kindergarten is not “mandatory”. Since it’s not mandatory, that justifies not funding it. That’s logical. If our principal didn’t use title funds to lower the class size in kindergarten, we would be like most of the rest of the district and have 30 or more students in our classes.
Today, one of the other kindergarten teachers was out and didn’t get a sub. So we split her class up and each took 4 kids each. That put my class at 27, and they were all there today. I really notice a difference in what we can or can’t get done when there are more than 25 kids. And these kids were very well behaved, it’s just that there were too many of them. Add a couple of behavior problems to the mix and it gets real interesting.