Principals and teachers across the nation have been fighting for small class sizes in spite of budget cuts and increased enrollments. For several years, San Diego has been successful in maintaining these small class sizes in a district of 130,000 students, but that may no longer be possible. Using state and federal stimulus dollars, San Diego has held class size to 17 in kindergarten through second grade at its 30 poorest schools. However, with stimulus money spent and budgets deadlocked, San Diego’s young students are looking at a future of 30 students instead of 17.
While educators debate whether the academic gain from reducing class size is worth the cost, research has shown that significantly smaller classes make a difference in the earliest grades. In fact, Mr. Barrera, the school board president, believes that the rise in the district’s state test scores — to 56 percent proficient in English from 45 percent three years ago — is due, in part, to smaller classes.
So, the question is: Does class size really make a difference?
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