Increased class sizes leave teachers stressed
A decade of education funding cuts has put a strain on one very important metric — class sizes.
Following the 1990 teacher strike, the State Legislature passed HB1017, a massive education reform package that included limits on class sizes for public schools. Signed into law by Gov. Henry Bellmon, HB1017 established maximum class sizes at 20 for students grades 1-6, 36 for grades 7-9 and 120 for grades 7-12. These size restrictions†† were also incorporated into a school’s accreditation criteria. Those reforms have since been rolled back, resulting in class sizes of 30 or more for elementary teachers and even more for secondary educators.
Rachel Ezell, a seventh grade reading teacher said she has seen first-hand how a difference in class size can completely change her teaching style — creating a learning environment hardly conducive to actual learning.
“I have a class size of 30 and a class of 21,” she said. “You can definitely feel like the smaller classes are completely different. The discussions are different. You’re able to do more with those kids. Class sizes are still a huge deal. Until we can hire more teachers, we’re still going to have issues.”