From the Dallas Morning News AUSTIN – Nearly 12,000 elementary school teaching jobs would be slashed – for a total annual savings of $558 million – if the state scraps the current 22-pupil class size limit in elementary grades, Comptroller Susan Combs recommended Wednesday. Combs' plan would eliminate the 25-year-old requirement that classes in kindergarten through fourth grade have no more than 22 pupils unless a school district gets a waiver from the state. The suggestion drew angry opposition from state teacher groups. But the comptroller says the Legislature should adopt an average class size for those grades of 22 students, rather than a strict limit enforced on each class. The current average under the 22-pupil limit is 19.3 students across the five grade levels. "Many school officials believe the 22-to-1 limit interferes with their ability to staff campuses cost-effectively, asserting that classes with up to 25 students can operate without any loss of instructional effectiveness," the comptroller said in a far-reaching report on school spending and student achievement released Wednesday. Switching to an average class standard and allowing larger classes would give districts more flexibility, allocating resources and limiting costs, the report said. Those arguments have long been raised by the Texas Association of School Boards and Texas Association of School Administrators, which have tried for years to ease the class size mandate. But teachers and their allies in the Legislature – mainly Democrats – have fought any change, arguing the 22-pupil limit led to big academic gains in Texas elementary schools while achievement levels in upper grades – where there are no similar restrictions – have been mostly lackluster. "This is the typical penny-wise and pound-foolish arithmetic that this state has engaged in for decades," said Richard Kouri of the Texas State Teachers Association. "It's no surprise that if you put more kids in classrooms and fire a bunch of teachers, you'll save money. And you don't save $558 million a year without firing thousands of elementary school teachers." Brock Gregg of the Association of Texas Professional Educators said the class size limit is one of the main reasons that Texas elementary school students have done better on national standardized tests than most of their peers. "The question is whether we should eliminate a program that we know works and helps give students the best opportunity to succeed," he said. Texas American Federation of Teachers President Linda Bridges noted school districts can now easily obtain waivers from the class size limit – and 145 districts did so last year, citing lack of classroom space or enough teachers. The requirement dates back to 1984, when the Legislature passed a massive school reform law that also included the no-pass-no-play rule, prekindergarten for low-income children and the state's high school graduation test. The leaders of the House and Senate education committees have indicated they will look at class size in the upcoming legislative session and see if lawmakers can give some flexibility to school districts. Revamping the elementary class size requirement was the biggest cost-saving recommendation in the comptroller's report, called the Financial Allocation Study for Texas 2010. The report also recommended such things as greater use of electronic textbooks, better purchasing practices by districts and more efficient use of school facilities. From the Dallas Morning News Raising the limit to 25 is ridiculous! 22 students is plenty! I'll probably have more to say once I have my morning coffee. What do you guys think of this? Also as a college senior, the idea of this makes me incredibly nervous about my job search in a few months.