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State leaders face dilemma in addressing class sizes

A temporary measure allowing schools to exceed class-size limits without financial penalties will automatically end in five months unless the Legislature acts this session.

But none of the solutions are ideal, placing policymakers in a bind.

If they let the nine-year-old moratorium expire, schools could face losing funding as a penalty for exceeding caps on class size. Yet what is needed to reduce class sizes is an influx of teachers, which costs money, and there’s an ongoing teacher shortage.

But extending the moratorium, as at least one bill proposes to do, could have its own negative effect: Classrooms would remain packed, which is one of the issues that is driving teachers out of the profession.

It’s a chicken-or-egg dilemma with no easy solutions.

Ballooning class sizes were a frequent point of contention during the teacher walkout in April. And it’s not just Oklahoma. Smaller classes were also part of the recent Los Angeles teachers strike, and the deal to end the dispute includes a gradual reduction in the maximum class size.

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