Reducing class sizes has long been championed as a way to improve outcomes for students.
Supporters – including many parents and teachers – argue that smaller classes allow students to get more individual attention and result in better grades, better test scores and fewer disciplinary issues. But critics of class-size reduction efforts argue that such reforms simply take money away from other priorities without making a meaningful difference in children’s learning.
“No one’s going to argue against the substantive argument for reducing class sizes, right?” says Douglas Ready, a professor of education and public policy at Columbia University in New York. “It sounds great. Teachers want it. Parents want it. Everybody wants it. The issue is paying for it and finding teachers to do it.