A Mother’s Experience: The Importance of Class Size

If you want to know whether class size counts, I can tell you from personal experience that is does. A lot. I am the mother of four children who have all gone to public schools in Washington, and I have seen both the damage done by large class sizes and the very positive impact of smaller class sizes. My youngest son Jack is a clear example.

As one of twenty five students in his kindergarten class, Jack struggled and was unable to receive the attention he needed to succeed academically. He fell seriously behind grade level. He was lucky, however, to be offered extended day classes, where there were always two to three adults working with about twelve children. The difference was phenomenal, with dramatic improvements in his reading and phonics.

Now in first grade, Jack is in a class of twenty seven other children. His teacher is phenomenal, but with that many students, there is only so much she can do. He is at real risk of falling back. And based on what has been happening in the legislature, class sizes will jump even more for him once he gets to the 4th grade.

Jack is not the only example in our family. My daughter was in a high school that was designed for 1,500 students, and redesigned to hold 1,700. It now has an enrollment of 2,300. The legislature’s failure to address class is now officially ridiculous. Class sizes matter for all grades, for all students and for all of Washington’s future.

Melissa Burns


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