Class Size Matters – From JCPS Parents

Presented to the JCPS BOE on 1/11/16

Dear JCPS,

As a parent, this past Friday was a new experience for me. But in spite of the possible threat, we made the decision to send our children to school. And you know what? We made lemonade out of lemons. Both of my children had one of the best days all year, education-wise. My son had the opportunity to enjoy a calmer class environment because there wasn’t such an overload on his senses with multiple kids chatting, multiple personalities clashing, multiple bodies shifting around and competing with one another for the attention of the teacher.

Because that is what it comes down to. When you put 25-30 kids in one room, their learning environment will become competitive in a negative way. On Friday, my kids learned that smaller class sizes allow for more collaboration, more deep learning and more relationship building within their own classroom community.

JCPS needs more collaborative systems in place. Systems that don’t pit one school against another for valuable resources, teachers and students. Collaborative systems where any child can have amazing educational opportunities no matter what part of town they are from, what they look like, or their families income. Our students need collaboration in an effort to create a “village mentality” within the city of Louisville because we are all in this together.

One parent writes, “We shouldn’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul. While my son’s school would benefit from moving teachers, that takes resources away from a school where things are working well. It is sad that because of the high stakes testing, we have created an environment of educational winners and losers. How does it benefit kids when their success is ultimately dependent on someone else’s failure? Where is the equity in that? Where is the sense of community in that? We all need to work together to make public education more of a collaboration.”

“My daughter only had 13 kids in her 2nd grade class and she said ‘I was able to get my work done because it was actually quiet’ This sentiment was echoed by several other parents. But this just shows that even a 7 year old can figure out that smaller classes equals more educational exploration and opportunity.

Think of all the other issues that would be minimized by reducing class sizes. Fewer kids in remediation because they would be able to have the attention they need to catch up at an earlier age. Fewer behavior issues because the children would be more actively engaged in their learning. Greater teacher retention because teachers would have the opportunity to focus on teaching and not correcting behavior.

Another parent said “If JCPS wants to get it “as right as they can” they need to start listening to those closest to our children. The teachers, the principals and most importantly the parents.

I hope that you take the time to reflect upon the positive feedback you’ve just received from stakeholders regarding the successes experienced on Friday due to smaller class sizes in JCPS. We at Dear JCPS are only here to help and we ask that you listen to our experiences and suggestions and give them careful consideration as we truly care about the success of not only our sons and daughters, but the success of all JCPS students.

Together we can do this.

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