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Board decides Tuesday whether to jettison class-size reduction
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The reason I am writing this letter to the newspaper is because I am not sure if parents are aware of a drastic change concerning their children’s educational future. The school board is voting this Tuesday, April 28, on whether to eliminate class size reduction in grades K-3. It took years for this positive step in education to be realized in California, and the gains we have made since its implementation are immeasurable. If we lose class size reduction, classrooms will be growing from 20 students to 32. In the same amount of time it takes to teach 20, teachers will have to reach 12 more. Many of these children come to us with little or no English skills or impoverished backgrounds. What will this look like in a typical day?

The small groups we can now meet with every day will only get that attention once or twice a week, since I will now have 7 small groups instead of 4.

Is your child an above average student? There will not be time to meet with these students as all my limited time will be spent on getting the lower ones up to proficient. There is only so much time in the day and that is the sad reality of it. Community time on the carpet to share our stories we have written in the Author’s Chair? There will be no room to gather with all those extra desks, and certainly not enough time to get to 32 authors waiting to share. Group work? Again there will be no room to groups desks together for collaborative thinking, only rows of straight desks. Independent math choices and phonics games for those who finish early? Not enough to go around for 32 children. Art projects or music enrichment? There will be no time in the day for it as I try to help 32 children grasp a math concept or finish all those practice book pages we need to get through to pass the STAR tests.

These are just a few examples of how our classrooms will look, and the learning tools we will have to sacrifice due to not enough time and space, and it makes me sad to picture it. It is not possible for one teacher to divide up her time among that many students. Some, if not many, will fall through the cracks. That is the reality. If this is something you would not like to see happen for your student I would advise attending this meeting on Tuesday, April 28, at 7 p.m. at the new district office on Louise and speaking out for what you believe in.

You vote the board members into their positions. Let them see that you care about the decisions they make in your children’s education.
Susan Norton
Teacher, MUSD
April 24, 2009