INDIANAPOLIS – Only eight states had a larger increase in the ratio of students taught by one educator between 2008 and 2016, according to a report from the American Federation of Teachers. It’s just another warning sign that Indiana Republicans’ education ‘reforms’ are generating negative results in the classroom.
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“Between 2008 and 2016, the pupil-teacher ratio in Indiana schools grew from 16.8 students per teacher to 18.15, making Indiana 42nd in the nation on this measure. Only eight states had a bigger increase. The state’s response to the Great Recession is at the core of this imbalance. From 2000 to 2008, the state steadily added more teachers as enrollments grew.68 However, in 2010, even as enrollment continued to grow, the state lost 4,137 teachers from the previous year.”
Beyond the obvious implications of more students assigned to a single educator, research suggests smaller class sizes have a demonstrable positive impact on student achievement. A report from the Brookings Institution underscores the importance of manageable class sizes:
“The most influential and credible study of CSR is the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio, or STAR, study which was conducted in Tennessee during the late 1980s. In this study, students and teachers were randomly assigned to a small class, with an average of 15 students, or a regular class, with an average of 22 students. This large reduction in class size (7 students, or 32 percent) was found to increase student achievement by an amount equivalent to about 3 additional months of schooling four years later.”
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody pointed to the uptick in class sizes as another troubling indicator that education ‘reform’ policies muscled through by Indiana Republicans are having little, and in some cases, negative impact on student achievement.
“Indiana Republicans are happy to supersize your student’s classroom if it means they can divert a few more taxpayer dollars out of public schools,” said Zody. “It’s just another instance of Statehouse Republicans asking educators to do more with less.”