Options for Reforming Class Size Limits
This is the third in a series of research papers intended to renew the discussion of Florida’s class size limits in public schools. The first paper in the series, entitled “Taking a Fresh Look at Florida’s Class Size Limits,” concluded that Florida taxpayers invested more than $27 billion into efforts to reduce class sizes, and that the smaller class sizes had no discernible impacts on student achievement. Research suggests that permitting school districts to achieve the class size limits on a school level average for grades 4-12 would generate substantial savings, which could then be reinvested into measures that will improve teacher quality and student achievement. The 2010 Florida TaxWatch Voter Guide on proposed Constitutional amendments estimated these savings at $7 to $10 billion over a 10-year period.
The second paper, entitled “Smaller Schools, Not Smaller Classes,” points out that smaller schools are better able to facilitate student achievement than smaller class sizes. Students in smaller schools have higher achievement scores in math and reading, fewer disciplinary problems, more individualized instruction, higher extracurricular participation, and are more likely to graduate.
Florida’s class size limits continue to present challenges to local school districts. This paper examines the different options and recommends a strategy for reforming the class size limits.