Video from the 2006 MMSD school referendum campaign.
Below is a slightly edited version of an email that I sent last night to the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education.
Subject: Class Size
Date: Thursday, August 30, 2012, 7:58 PM
I’m just back from the open house and thought you should know that 5th grade class sizes at Randall are at 28 this year. Maybe other grades also, the last few years 2nd, 3d, & 4th [at Franklin and Randall] have mostly been at 26 & 27.
The best teachers in the world are better in classrooms with 22,23,24…not 26, 27, 28… This is no secret.
If you are tempted to say that Randall is a low needs/low poverty school, so this is OK, I’ll remind you of that there were 86 low income and 30+ Ell last year and like Johnny Winston said “it isn’t easy being a poor kid at a rich school.” I’ll also say that all kids deserve better than 28 per class.
Here is what I think is the most recent public info on class size in MMSD (from this post):
…The first was an October 3, 2011 discussion of class size, cut short in order to waste more time on Madison Prep, that featured a confusing and incomplete presentation of data. Despite promises made, in the intervening 10 months the better data has not come before the Board, nor has the Board returned to the topic. For what they are worth and those interested, the Middle School info is here (not too bad, but no trend info) and the Elementary info is here (really useless). There is nothing worth mentioning on High Schools. For the hardcore, there was also what looks to be an outdated practices document given to the La Follette Area study committee, note that it says that the non-Sage grades 3-5 limit is 27 (it also still has SAGE classes at 15/1, over a year after MMSD went to 18/1).
As some of you know, I believe that the Board should be more informed and pro-active on class size, and that given the financial implications, this should be part of the budget process.
No responses yet, but it hasn’t been very long since I sent it. If I get any responses, I will ask for permission to post the here.
For more on class size, see ClassSizeMatters.org.
Thomas J. Mertz