Bill to expand classrooms sizes in Senate - | WBTV Charlotte

Bill to expand classrooms sizes in Senate


The debate over classroom size is always ongoing.

Some teachers say class sizes should be limited so student's can achieve maximum performance.

But state Senator Jerry Tillman is leading the way on Senate Bill 374, which would end the cap on class sizes in kindergarten through 3rd grade.

"Get me results and I don't care if you have 30 or 13, I care less, I do care whether you made progress or not and we're going to grade you on that," said Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph County.

Tillman told a Senate committee each school and each district has distinct needs, and administrators shouldn't have their hands tied when it comes to using the money the way they need to.

Right now, schools have to hire a certain number of teachers to meet the classroom cap of 24 students per teacher. Without the cap in place, districts can put that money towards other programs. CMS school board member Rhonda Lennon agrees that school districts should have more flexibility.

"It does not cut teachers which is a priority and it allows us some more flexibility for us to make some decision about what are best for individual schools," said Lennon

But educators say research shows a student teacher ratio of 15:1 is most effective and gives students the individualized attention they need. Some say the bill could have a negative impact on poorer schools with fewer resources. There's also concern that if Governor McCrory cuts teacher assistants next year, teachers will be left scrambling.

"We're going to see class size go up in K-3 and there will not be a teacher assistant in that classroom to help with the size of a class," said Brian Lewis, political director of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

The bill is expected to be voted on in the Senate next week.

If it passes, it will go into effect July 1, 2013.

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