Pleasanton school board approves smaller classes for first-graders
Original post made on May 16, 2013
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, 7:17 AM
on May 16, 2013 at 8:30 am
I really dislike how this was handled. Why first grade in particular? Did anyone ask the teachers which grade would be best to target to reduce class sizes? Or whether the teachers actually prefer 25:1 vs 30:1 with staggered instruction? It feels like PPIE abstractly decided it wanted something, with no input from the actual educators, and then the district felt it had to take it. I'd rather have seen the district weigh in more explicitly on funding priorities.
And yes, this will affect whether and how much I donate to PPIE again next year.
on May 16, 2013 at 8:50 am
@Jill - Yes, careful consideration was given as to how best to apply Class Size Reduction (CSR). As you can imagine, the issue is very complex, but PPIE and the School Board spent considerable time researching the issue diving into a multitude of studies exploring CSR and which grades benefit most from the smaller student teacher ratio. The takeaway from the research indicated 1st graders benefited the most from CSR due to that timeframe being a critical point in a student's reading, writing, and math development requiring more attention from parents and teachers.
To your second point, many Pleasanton educators are part of and participated in the PPIE and School Board decision to apply CSR to 1st grade for the 2013-2014 school year.
Please understand, this is just the first step for CSR in Pleasanton with the ultimate goal of applying CSR to at a minimum K-3 by the 2014-2015 school year. Governor Brown is a big proponent of CSR and has made it a budget priority in the next few years. PPIE and the School Board are committed to restoring CSR to all elementary grades in the near future.
Thank you for your feedback and continued support of our children and Pleasanton schools.
on May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am
@Jill - 1st grade was selected for CSR because according to the CA Education Code, school districts must first reduce class sizes in 1st grade (then 2nd grade and then 3rd grade or K) to receive CSR funds from the state.
The following text is from the California Department of Education's website (Web Link):
"Education Code Section 52124(b) establishes the order in which the grade levels at a school site must be reduced when implementing the CSR program. If only one grade level is being reduced at a school site, it must be first grade. If only two grade levels are being reduced, they must be first and second grades. The 'first priority' grades are first and second grades, while the 'second priority' grades are third and kindergarten."