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Should class size limits be watered down?

by Dara Kam | February 1st, 2010

Legislative leaders-in-waiting Sen. Don Gaetz and Rep. Will Weatherford are heading up a GOP initiative to water down constitutional class size limits approved by voters.

Gaetz, R-Destin, and Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, sponsored a constitutional amendment lawmakers are expected to put on the ballot this year that would undo some of the class size restrictions voters approved in 2002.

Floridians have already spent $16 billion to shrink class sizes but plummeting property tax collections – which pay for public schools – have sent lawmakers scrambling to foot the $22 billion-a-year tab for education.

Gaetz and Weatherford, who are expected to lead their chambers in 2012, will reveal details of their proposal at a press conference tomorrow morning.

Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for U.S. Senate, recently said that he supports undoing the class size restrictions, which have been been introduced gradually and which school officials say costs too much and doesn’t benefit student achievement.

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Democrat is also running for the U.S. Senate seat Crist seeks, was the force behind the class size amendment in 2002 while he was in the state Senate.

He isn’t backing down from the limits, which are set to go into full effect by the end of this year.

“Eight years later, Tallahassee officials have not relented in trying to water down hard-fought class size limits while refusing to tackle the special interest bidding that is alive and well in the state capital, ” said Kendrick Meek, who served as Chairman of Florida’s Coalition to Reduce Class Size in 2002.

“Florida families cannot be shortchanged. They simply ask that their children not be packed into overcrowded classrooms. Instead of focusing on misguided priorities, Florida needs a long-term perspective to secure a better future for our children. Implementing the class size limits without delay is critical so our teachers can teach in classrooms where our students can learn. Moreover, it is important to note that our state needs to invest now in its human capital in order to reverse the tide of joblessness for tomorrow’s workers,” Meek said in press release.

Do you think the constitutional limits on class sizes should be lowered?

  • No (71%, 52 Votes)
  • Yes (29%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 73

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11 Responses to “Should class size limits be watered down?”

  1. flmom Says:

    Get an understanding of how they count class size, they average the number of students and the number of staff. They count the library media specialists, pe teachers, music teachers and art teachers as having 0 students instead of counting them as having all the students in the school. It really distorts the class sizes anyway.

  2. sean Says:

    I’m of the opinion that Class size has as much to do with the recent improvements in Florida’s school as the “stricter standards” passed by ex-Gov Bush. The success of class-size is just now kicking in. We need to keep it.

  3. AMS Says:

    Problem in Palm Beach County…all the new school built have SMALLER size classrooms! Now, if there is an increase in class size…we are going to have to be squeezed into a small square footage.

    PB County built SMALLER classroom square foot to accomodate the smaller class size.

  4. MackG Says:

    flmom,

    They do not do it the way you state. Right now schools are allowed to use averages for ACADEMIC classes, but when the full law kicks in they will not be allowed to average at all.

  5. Bad democrats Says:

    Keeping smaller classrooms with the influx of more haitian immigrants…right!

    Florida can not sustain this massive flood coming our way.

    As California went, so goes Florida.

    California, ONCE the state of the BEST school system is not one of the worst!

    The federal government is squeezing the states with more immigrants, unrealistic demands.

    Time to vote out democrats and abolish the department of education and let the state and local district make educational decisions.

  6. Jane Says:

    At this point, the negative economy, the influx of Haitians and other illegals, the School Districts being involved in everything from transportation to who yo baby daddy that it is no wonder they still can’t read.
    If the Districts’ administraters are really educators then they should educate! They are lousy as CEOs!

  7. Florida's Future Says:

    Stay the course Floridians!!! It’s been proven over and over again that the smaller student/teacher ratio BENEFITS THE CHILDREN in the long run. (Hey, all you self-centered, egomaniacs… It’s the responsibility of the adults to work out the details.) For too long now, Florida has been known for prioritizing other interest above our children’s education. What a shame to this generation if we can’t even see this small, yet important change to it’s fruition. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy or convenient.

  8. teacher Says:

    I just wish interested arties could op u on campus and look at the average classroom and see the numbers. I teach regular level students at Glades Central and all of my classes have ver 30 students, but then look at the honors and AP classes…..5 or up to 10.
    Getting an accurate number is a JOKE.

  9. Helen Pate Bain Says:

    See Abstracts 6,9,14,16and22 for sound
    data on the cost savings of small classes. Call me with questions. 251-540-7012. Helen Bain

  10. Helen Pate Bain Says:

    Please put the website in my reply.

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