Need to reduce class size

May 27, 1998

The New York Times said in an editorial May 25:

PRESIDENT Clinton's initiative to spend $12 billion over seven years to reduce class sizes in first through third grade will provide needed federal support to states trying for smaller classes in the primary grades. The plan, as introduced in the House, would pay for 100,000 new teachers. The investment is small, but the impact could be substantial if that money is directed, as Clinton proposes, to reducing class size to an average of 18 students.

Research has generally shown that a reduction in class size from to 25 students makes no difference to academic achievement and that reductions in grades four through 12 have limited

impacts. But several studies have shown that reductions in earlier grades can bring significant benefits, particularly if the cut is to 20 students or fewer . . . Investing in small classes early can be a preventive measure against future academic failure and the need for remedial education.

Dozens of states have begun reduction initiatives. . . . Improving public education will take sustained, targeted investments. This federal proposal would help states reach goals they have set.

Pub Date: 5/27/98

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