In yet another attempt to balance the state budget on the backs of kids and the people who teach them, the Republican administration at the Texas Education Agency has approved an increase in class size in thousands of classrooms statewide.
Schools are able to request waivers to the standard 22:1 student-teacher ratio for grades K-4, but do not need to request any permission to exceed the ratio in 5 – 12. In recent years, waiver requests have tripled, affecting close to one-third of elementary schools in the state.
From State Rep. Mike Villareal:
Over 8,000 Texas Classrooms Exceed State Class Size Limits
Parents, Students, School Supporters Meet in San Antonio to Fight Back
San Antonio – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has approved school districts' requests to exceed the state's standard 22-student elementary school class size limit in at least 8,243 classrooms during the 2011-2012 school year, according to TEA data. This press release is accompanied by a district-by-district breakdown of the number of waivers approved for each grade in each campus as of November 2011, the latest data provided by TEA.
The extraordinarily high number of waivers is largely a consequence of the legislature's decision to cut support for public education by $5.4 billion. During the 2010-2011 school year the state approved class size limit waivers for 2,238 classrooms as of October 2010, the most recent data provided by TEA.
“When Governor Perry and his supporters in the legislature decided to slash public education funding, they essentially voted to crowd more kids into thousands of classrooms,” said Rep. Villarreal. “When elementary students have to compete with even more kids for their teacher's attention, and we cut support staff such as special education aides, children are less likely to receive the individual instruction and support they need. The parents coming to the Save Texas Schools conference in San Antonio know that if we are serious about educating our kids, growing our economy and creating jobs, then we can't turn our teachers into babysitters.”
The Save Texas Schools coalition will hold a conference in San Antonio on February 3-4. The conference will train parents, students and concerned citizens who want to restore support in the legislature for public education. Speakers include Rep. Villarreal and Mayor Julian Castro. The conference will be held Friday, Feb. 3, 6:00-9:00 pm, at the Northside ISD Activity Center at 7001 Culebra Rd. and Saturday, Feb. 4, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, at Holmes High School, 6500 Ingram Rd. Additional information is online at www.savetxschools.org.