Proposed Texas Law to Cut 12,000 Jobs

Discussion in 'General Education' started by gutterballjen, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    Dec 9, 2010

    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.
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I can tell you that every extra student makes a difference! Raising the number of students will mean that you will have an extra set of papers to grade most likely daily, you will have more conferences, larger groups, less time for each individual student, etc.

    However, by raising your class three students, it could save 12,000 jobs...My district was looking at something similar and we voted to raise class sizes to save teachers. This year has been hard, but are the students making any less gains? Absolutely not! I would never allow that!
     
  4. bros

    bros Phenom

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    25 sounds reasonable, much better than the 30+ in some classrooms now
     
  5. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    Dec 9, 2010

    This would mostly apply to the elementary grades which have a cap at 22 students. 25 kindergarteners is a lot of kids to manage.
     
  6. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Dec 9, 2010

    Texas................
    Where high schools build collegiate like football stadiums
    and 17 year olds are worshiped like conquering
    heroes and kindergartens are filled to the walls
    to save money. Im sure there are some people with sense
    about schools out there but they need to gain power.
    Fla is just about as bad when it comes to "policy".
     
  7. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    As a teacher who now has 31 students + 3 spec. ed. students, I can tell you that my scores are going to SUCK and the learning that is taking place is being distracted DAILY (literally every 30 min) because of discipline problems or other issues that arise.

    If you think about the TYPES of students you have, i.e. major behavior problems, those students should count as TWO students instead of 1. So, basically with my class size of 31 if I were to do that with my discipline problems, I actually have over 40 in my class!

    It BLOWS MY MIND when people state "no instructional time is lost" when you increase class size. Where's the PROOF! Where's the DATA?!
     
  8. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    It is easy to say that when you are a law maker with no background (or clue) in education and are usually pandering to
    the crowd that thinks public schools = "govt schools indoctrinating our children in nefarious ways"
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I agree. Don't come to Florida looking for higher ups in education with common sense.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Is there research that supports the idea that smaller classrooms benefit kids? I know it certainly seems that way to all of us, but I've never actually seen any real data. Does anyone have a link to a study or anything?
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Well, it would illogical, in the state of TX, to save money by doing anything to athletics! :eek: No way would we even think about not having a great stadium for Friday night football games, or cutting back on 1-2 coaches because you're striving for the best team (though coaches make up to $3000 EXTRA in some districts). And athletics is great for kids, don't get me wrong, but when Johnny gets hurt and can't turn pro or get a scholarship then there's no where to turn but academics. And how many sob stories are there out there where the stars of the football team are now working dead-end jobs because they didn't make it in college or to the pros.

    I think raising the class size to 25 is a mistake, but if it saves jobs, we could do it. BUT if they see that we're ok with that, then what's not to say they won't come back and raise it to 30+?
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Is it saving jobs? I read it as the schools would cut teachers and just raise the class size, thereby saving money in not paying those salaries. Schools would need less teachers-more kids to each teacher.

    You know what they say-everything's bigger in Texas! ;) I don't think the legislators have ever been inside an early childhood classroom with that many bodies roaming around. I have 23 this year and it was a challenge even to arrange that many desks and still have room to walk around.
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Kinder~if they had to spend even one day in a kinder classroom with 26+ bodies, then they would definitely rethink their decision to pass this law.
     
  14. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Dec 9, 2010

    What does it cost to educate one child grade 1 thru grade 12

    Has anyone ever run the numbers to see what it costs to to "educate" one child from Grade 1 through Grade 12? (I tried to google this but couldn't come up with the right parameters.)
     
  15. DallasTeacher

    DallasTeacher Companion

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    Slam me but why are lower grades protected so much? In the sixth, students are coming right out of bilingual classes with basically no English skills. Try putting 38 8th grade bodies in a room, including SpEd and students 1st/2nd/3rd yr in the country. Their learning is just as important as in the lower grades. Texas could save millions by eliminating bilingual but that isn't going to happen. Politicians don't have the willpower.

    Coaches earning extra is for their extra hours. Same thing is true for dance, choir, debate, band, etc. sponsors. Stadiums, buildings, etc come out of different funds and many extras come from boosters.

    What people do not consider is that there is a limit to what taxpayers should have to spend. Another issue to consider is that taxpayers are now being asked to fund 14 years of "free" education and more if the child is retained. I attended school from 1 thru 12. My sons only attended 1 thru 12 but now sone students attend from PK to 12. In fact, some start at 3, another drain on the education system as those students are receiving even more. Personally I do not feel the American taxpayers are getting their monies worth.
     
  16. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    I searched for articles related to the topic, and the first two studies I found indicate that smaller class sizes benefit instruction. There was the Glass/Smith study of 1980 and a study of younger students in Tennessee in 1995. Both studies concluded that smaller is better. I didn't look for any other studies past the first two, but from what I gather, that's what most of the research says.
     
  17. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    You have to admit a Kindergartner needs a lot more daily individual attention than a 6th Grader. Even just administering a test (which we have to do one-on-one) or teaching them phonics. I'm not saying it's harder to teach Elementary or that it's more important-but anyone who does it will tell you, the less bodies to corral, the more learning actually takes place.


    Major-it has to vary place to place, grade to grade. Our school's funding is calculated by student population-so there is a number (I don't know what it is off-hand) that the school gets for each student Pre-K-5th Grade. I do think that is also part of it. If you have more kids in each class, it's more money that school could get.
     
  18. teach'ntx

    teach'ntx Comrade

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    My class is luckily only 19 right now. However, picturing my room in my old school building, I am not sure where I would the desks, and other room needed to 7 more wiggly energetic 2nd graders. Not to mention all the other concerns of the one-on-ones, small group, and extra teaching needed for the refuge students who have a few years to less than one year in the country...... Maybe go to 25 and give each of us an aide (I know wishful dreaming!!!)
     
  19. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Yes, by all means, cut the best of the best (younger veteran teachers)... just as long as you don't cut the pay of the older veterans (and their discretionary income) and their Carnival Cruise line vacation with the hubby or Disneyworld with the family.
     
  20. bros

    bros Phenom

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    In my district, for a non-sped student, it's around 13k a year per student.

    so 13*12 = $156,000
     

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