In Favor of Class Size Amendment in Florida

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In Favor of Class Size Amendment in Florida

Merely glimpsing into a handful of the classrooms that scatter the state should signal that we have a blatant problem with too many students. With an average of 23 students per teacher from kindergarten to fifth grade and a staggering average of almost 28 per teacher in high schools, one might wonder exactly how any young person can obtain a comprehensive education. The correlations between classroom sizes and school grades around the state clearly depict the problem at hand: from 2003 to 2004 the number of failing schools increased from 35 to a grand total of 49 schools, according to the Florida Department of Education. Although the incline of fourteen failing schools may not stupefy the masses, the ascension alone should warn officials that it is not only our students who are failing, but our current method of handling them as well.

To solve this problem, in November of 2002, Florida's voters passed Constitutional Amendment 9, which limits class sizes in Florida's public schools. The established limits are 18 students in prekindergarten through grade three, 22 students in grades four through eight, and 25 students in grades nine through twelve. Although it may seem to be a rather straightforward problem to solve, according to Governor Jeb Bush, it is quite the opposite. Specifically, he is overly worried about the price-tag associated with this class-size amendment. Obviously, greatly increasing the number of classrooms statewide does not transpire with little effort or funding, but this alone does not justify Bush's persistent effort to wipe aside the idea of Floridian students being able to obtain a more comfortable and extensive education.

So, why exactly should decreasing class sizes be held with utmost importance regardless of the costly efforts required to put this plan into action?

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Simply put, with a reduced student-to-teacher ratio across the state, teachers would be able to give students more attention—meaning fewer students would feel “left behind.” This concept also applies vice-versa: teachers would benefit from smaller class sizes as well. Since they would have a smaller group of students to manage, they could progress through their planned assignments at a smoother pace while keeping every student up to par with the required level of knowledge.



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