The Class-Size Amendment Must be Repealed in Florida!

The Class-Size Amendment Must be Repealed in Florida!

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The Class-Size Amendment Must be Repealed in Florida!

The latest amendment to the Florida constitution reduces the average class size in schools around the state. Although many people believe that smaller class size will help students learn by giving them more time individually with their teacher, studies prove that class size has little or no effect on student achievement. The class-size amendment is a waste of non-existent money, and in the long run, it will only hurt Florida’s economy and the education program.

On November 5, 2002, voters approved the reduction of class sizes around the state, much to the dismay of the governor and well-informed citizens everywhere. Governor Bush previously had warned that the revision to the constitution would cost $27.5 billion over eight years and would force the state to raise taxes and cut services. Unfortunately, naïve supporters of class size reduction chose to go ahead with the modification of the constitution for emotional reasons, having no actual evidence demonstrating benefit from smaller classes. Much evidence exists, however, to demonstrate why this amendment should not have been passed.

In 1986, the Tennessee legislature commissioned the Tennessee Class Size Experiment to determine if class size made a difference in achievement for disadvantaged students. After studying 79 different schools in 42 school districts for 4 years, the researchers found that class size only had an effect on students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, and that effect was minute. The impact was only on reading, not math, and smaller classes did not help disadvantaged students. A 2002 study of New York City schools showed that smaller schools, not smaller classes, had an effect on student success.
From these and other studies, Florida should have learned that paying $27.5 billion to count the number of children in a class is a waste of money. Instead,

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if this state has even half of that revenue, we should use research-proven strategies that increase student achievement, such as implementing a rigorous curriculum for all pupils, focusing on using data to support decision-making, and employing highly-trained and well-paid teachers.

Before starting new programs, we must remember that currently we have an amendment in place that is using taxes to drain our bank accounts. Because the class-size amendment will leave Florida bankrupt, it must be repealed.
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