Wednesday - June 20, 2018
Cooper Pushes for Class Size Funding
Written by Bruce Ferrell   
Friday, 05 January 2018 14:26

CHARLOTTE-- Governor Roy Cooper today urged legislative Republicans to provide funding for smaller class sizes to phase in the currently unfunded mandate when they convene in Raleigh next week.  The governor’s comments followed a visit to Cotswold Elementary School in Charlotte, where he met with students, teachers, support staff, and administrators.

“I believe smaller class size can be a good thing, but you have to pay for it,” Gov. Cooper said. “This is an artificial class size change—one that shrinks classes on paper but in reality hurts students and teachers.”

In 2016, the General Assembly required smaller class sizes for kindergarten through third grade classes in North Carolina public schools, but failed to provide additional funding for teachers and classroom space. As a result, schools across the state have been forced to increase class sizes for higher grade levels in order to move teachers to K-3 classrooms. In some districts, critical classes like computer science may have to be cut so those teachers can be reassigned to cover new classes.

Without additional funding for classroom space, many schools will be forced to place K-3 classes in alternative spaces like trailers and cafeterias, instead of rooms built for learning. In addition, class size may have to be increased in grades 4 and above.

“We should be helping schools hire highly qualified teachers instead of forcing them to resort to measures that will set our students back,” Gov. Cooper said. “Squeezing public schools even further by forcing artificial deadlines could hurt student learning and leave some children and teachers in overcrowded classrooms.”

“With classroom space constraints and an existing teacher shortage, school boards across the state are concerned about the repercussions on our students of reducing class size under the timetable prescribed in the law,” said Dr. Ed Dunlap, Executive Director of the NC School Boards Association. “NCSBA believes reducing class size is beneficial but not at the cost of having untrained teachers, reduced Pre-K services, larger class sizes in 4-12, classes in more mobile units and teachers losing their classrooms and having to teach from a cart.”

 

 
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