Elm First Graders need smaller class sizes
To our school administrators,
We are writing to appeal your decision to keep our rising First graders at Elm Street School in only three classes. The current class sizes of 22, 22 and 17 are already problematic, especially without any classroom aides. It is our understanding that class sizes will most definitely increase, to upwards of 27, due to the following expected additions:
- Metco students
- Partnership students
- Students who begin Elm in First grade
- New residents
As educators, I'm sure you recognize that even the current class sizes for this cohort are beyond the limits of what the research supports as best practices. One meta-analysis, reviewing 19 studies spanning several decades, found that "a class size of no more than 18 students per teacher is required to produce the greatest benefits." (1). Another meta-analysis conducted by the National Education Policy Center, concluded, "the evidence suggests that increasing class size will harm not only children’s test scores in the short run but also their long-term human capital formation. Money saved today by increasing class sizes will be offset by more substantial social and educational costs in the future." (2) Much of the research reviewed focused specifically on K-3 as incurring the most detriment in larger classrooms.
As parents, we of course want only the best for our children and want to ensure that each of them is afforded the time and attention that will promote their academic achievement, as well as their social and emotional well-being. Additionally, as Walpole residents and taxpayers, we are rather surprised to be facing this issue of overcrowded classrooms. We are aware of the vastly complicated nature of balancing the Town's mission to promote all Walpole students toward academic excellence, while working within the confines of the budget in an era of disappearing funding. However, we are deeply concerned to see these budget constraints pushing our most impressionable and vulnerable students into these unwieldy arrangements.
We implore you to reconsider the decision regarding the Elm Street School First grade classroom sizes for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Concerned Elm Parents