Reduce Class Size in Monrovia Elementary Schools

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We, the parents of students in the Monrovia School District call on the Monrovia Board of Education to prioritize class-size reduction in MUSD elementary schools, in all grades, going forward. The research supports what we parents have personally witnessed this past year: Class size matters. The Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the US Department of Education, concludes that class size reduction is one of only four, evidence-based reforms that have been proven to increase student achievement through rigorous, randomized experiments -- the "gold standard" of research.[1] Even the finest teachers are limited in what they can do when they have large classes.

Further, we believe that: 

  • Small class size provides teachers a better opportunity to identify at risk students, and provide more individualized instruction.
  • Small class size decreases disruption, distractions, and behavioral issues, giving teachers more time for instruction, and more time for socio-emotional support and interventions.
  • Class size is an important determinant of student outcomes, and one that can be directly determined by policy. All else being equal, lowering class sizes will ameliorate student outcomes.
  • Large class size inhibits our ability to integrate rigorous new curriculum and time-consuming best-practices into our classrooms.  
  • The payoff from class-size reduction is greater for low-income and minority children, while any increases in class size will likely be most harmful to these populations.
  • The evidence suggests that increasing class size will harm not only children’s test scores in the short run, but also their long-run human capital formation. Money saved today by increasing class sizes will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the future.
  • The Monrovia Board of Education should carefully weigh the efficacy of class-size policy against other potential uses of funds. While lower class size has a demonstrable cost, it may prove the more cost-effective policy overall. 

Thus, we implore the Board of Education to cap all classes in MUSD elementary schools at 25 students, including in grades four and five, beginning in the 2018-2019 school year and, further, to keep all classes single-grade, unless there are two teachers assigned to the classroom.

[1] U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, “Identifying and Implementing Educational Practices Supported by Rigorous Evidence: a User Friendly Guide,” December 2003 at: http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/rigorousevid/rigorousevid.pdf

 



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