How does class size affect learning?

Parents in Wake County are protesting the class size bill not being passed yet. The class size bill states that elementary schools need to have a stricter limit on classroom capacity. The bill has passed the House of Representatives but is lingering in the hand of the Senate. The leader of the house minority, Darren Jackson, states that this is “a temporary reprieve from a no-win situation.” By passing the bill, students will be affected in other curricular aspects of school.

We decided to get Apex High School students’ opinions on how different class sizes affected their learning or how they think it may affect others. Apex High senior, Zach Ferrell, stated,“ I personally think that the bigger the class size is, the less I learn.” This statement further proves why parents are upset about the bill not being passed. Grayson Hall, a junior, says, “With all the students in a big class it can be very hard to have one on one time with teachers.”  With the addition of new teachers, this problem that many students tend to experience can easily be resolved.

The argument that the school board is making against the bill is that in order to limit classroom sizes, other amenities will have to be taken away. With smaller class sizes comes more classes that need to be offered. If there are more classes, there needs to be more teachers to meet the demand. If more teachers need to be hired, more teachers need to be paid. Space then becomes an issue as well. More classes of fewer students still requires more classrooms. Schools are proposing that in order to fit this demand, they will have to take away space from non-core classes such as art or music, which parents are arguing that will affect the quality of their  students’ school day if they lack this time.

When Elena Lozano, a junior at Apex High School, was asked about her feelings towards music and art being taken away in elementary schools, she said,“ Music and art are the fundamentals of kids having some form of creativity; taking it away might ruin that opportunity to express creativity.” What is more important to young students? A smaller class size or having time for non core classes? According to PBS, art helps children develop skills such as decision making, innovativeness, and cultural awareness.

The school board is faced with the issue of looking at the quality level of education a student may receive,trying to balance their budget by also giving them extra curricular time to enjoy non core classes. Both are essential to a child having a healthy learning environment. Finding a happy medium is the most hoped for outcome.  Parents are stuck on the fact that it will cause a lack in educational value. What cannot be forgotten is that these are still young kids. Kids need a break to explore classes that are not core classes. In taking away these classes, it will do more harm than good in the long run.


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