Local News

Budget cuts create larger classes

Posted September 24, 2009

— More students in North Carolina public schools are in larger classes this year due to state budget cuts that eliminated teaching positions.

Normally, the maximum number of students per classroom is capped at 24 from kindergarten through third grade, 29 from fourth through ninth grade, and 32 from tenth through twelfth grade.

When it reduced school funding this year to balance the state budget, though, the General Assembly gave school districts permission to balance their budgets by increasing class sizes in fourth through twelfth grade.

Class sizes grow after budget cuts Class sizes grow after budget cuts

Principals and teachers across Wake County said they are generally seeing larger classes.

Nathan Carter's fifth grade class at Dillard Drive Elementary jumped from 19 students last year to 29 this year. East Cary Middle teacher Kim Price said her classroom is as full as it's ever been in her career.

"In 27 years, I've never had 43 children in a classroom," Price said.

Teachers and education experts said the extra students create more work for teachers and can lead to less academic instruction for students.

"The teacher is going to have more things to do just to manage the class that have nothing to do with instruction," said Dr. Harris Cooper, chair of the psychology department at Duke University.

"Not only is it classroom management, trying to keep all 29 in line, it's also the time you can spend with each student, specifically working with them one-on-one," Carter said.

Cooper, who conducts education research, said that children tend to do better in smaller classes.

"What the research shows is that there's a relationship between how many kids there are in a class and how well they do in school," Cooper said. "The relationship is really a curve, so the addition of any child will have an impact."

Officials with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction said they won't know average class sizes statewide this year until November.


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  • CrankyMan Sep 24, 2009

    Wah...wah...wah... All of you hard working, know-it-all, tax-paying critics are way off point. While you claim to pay our (teacher) salaries, you likely don't contribute enough personal tax money out of your own feeble salaries to pay my luxury car payment. It doesn't bother me whether there are 20 or 40 students in class, I still get paid the same. It's your kids that will suffer from the lack of my quality time to drag their lazy rear-ends through another year of performing below grade-level and they still can't read the Dick and Jane stories of yesteryear. See Dick. See Dick flunk out. See Jane. See Jane become a well paid teacher on taxpayer money. With the quality of education that comes with larger class sizes, I can only offer my sincere thanks to all of you under-achievers for allowing your kids to follow your dreams of going nowhere fast while they continue my Mercedes payments right through retirement.

  • 2Leo Sep 24, 2009

    When I was growing up, large class size wasn't a problem....there were 30-35 of us every year. Oh, but wait, that was back when the teachers were actually able to teach, not babysit the bad kids and be constantly interrupted by them. There were consequences for our behavior and boy did we get it both at school AND when we got home! It's parents' responsibility to ensure that their children behave during school and don't disrupt the learning of others. If they don't, they face the consequences....which seems to be lacking nowaways...consequences for your actions.

  • colliedave Sep 24, 2009

    the fact the legislators targeted their cuts at teachers rather than adminstrators shows how much they care about the children the teachers are charged with teaching.

  • Fed-up29 Sep 24, 2009

    Perhaps some of your should examine the budgets. Education is the biggest expenditure. Here is a thought. Get rid of head start and more at four and K5. That makes more teachers available. Then take the money that was spent on these items and spend it on Grades 1 through 12.

    Totally agree. being used by illegals as free daycare and spanish is being spoken in these programs instead of english b/c the kids dont understand english.

  • RCNC225 Sep 24, 2009

    Lates talk a real life situation:
    My Wife teaches 1st grade in Wake County and currently has 27 students(she had 28 but 1 just left). She and the 2nd grade teacher 'share' an assistant. What that means is after the assistant does all of there school duties for lunch carpool bus etc... She has a helper in the classroom about 2 hours a day. Years ago parents would come into the classroom and help, but as I said that was years ago... When I was in grade school childern with 'problems' were in a special class. Now they are 'mainstreamed'. So every class has some number of kids with 'special needs'... As I have read a number of the post here, there is a lot of truth. A teacher can 'teach' 30 kids. But out teachers are not just being ask to teach, they are being told to manage kids in a classroom setting that should be isolated or sent home to their parents. Unfortunately their parents can't do anything with them either or just don't want to deal with them...

  • time4real Sep 24, 2009

    i think that parents should take responsibility too, by getting off their lazy rears, not giving some lame excuse why you couldn't and GO VOTE on October 6 for a new school board to take their kids down the educational road. enough with the current, manifesting failures, enough already!

  • Granny Sep 24, 2009

    It's time that the parents stepped up and did their part in helping to educate the children....education & learning does not just belong in the classrooms. Parents need to stop putting their own needs above the needs of their children and families!

  • Plenty Coups Sep 24, 2009

    Stefany Joy-While I don't agree with budget cuts to education, are any teachers on here willing to admit they do not have time for each student who asks for individual help?

    Yes, I'm a teacher and admit that I ahve a class of 30 students with very low learners in it. When we do an activity with so many, I cannot adequately help them all. You can blame it on the parents (and in many cases it is their fault), but it is what it is.

  • affirmativediversity Sep 24, 2009

    I've had my moments when I've been sick and tired of all the "teacher" whining...during good times their incessant "We Deserve" and "For the Children" chants...usually for better COLA's, benefits and retirement compare to or in exclusion of ALL other State Employees.

    I believe they have caused some of their own PR problems now by their selfishness then. After all what other profession or discipline within State Government is NOW going to free up some of their hard fought for resources for the GROUP who, for years, insisted on being at the front of the line and TAKING the LIONS SHARE...

    BUT...that being said...although I thought TEACHERS to be by far too self absorbed and tunnel visioned...I never thought there were TOO MANY OF THEM!

    I truly want to know how many mid to higher level Administrators were cut...how many STATE BOE positions are gone?

  • AX Sep 24, 2009

    They wont know average class sizes until November???? So nobody is counting daily? I thought thats why the state spent millions on NCDatawise?