WakeEd

The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. How will the new student assignment plan balance diversity, stability, proximity and stability? How will Jim Merrill replace Tony Tata as the new superintendent of the state's largest district? How will voters react to a $810 million school construction bond referendum on Oct. 8 ballot? How will this fall's school board elections impact the future of the district?

WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui. While Keung posts information and analysis on the issues, keep us posted on your suggestions, questions, tips and what you're doing to cope with the changes in Wake's schools.

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Senate bill would eliminate class-size limits

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The Excellent Public Schools Act isn't the only major education change that state Senate Republican leaders are proposing today.

The NC Public Schools Budget Flexibility Act, here, would eliminate the state's maximum class size limits. The bill says "local school administrative units shall have the maximum flexibility to use allotted teacher positions to maximize student achievement."

In the process, it would end the state's efforts over the past decade to reduce class sizes in K-3. The K-3 class size reductions has proven challenging to growing districts like Wake County.

The bill's primary co-sponsors include Sen. Jerry Tillman, co-chairman of the Education Committee and a Randolph County Republican; and new Sen. Tamara Barringer, a Cary Republican.

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Interesting....

class sizes have long been a problem. Holly Ridge Middle School had classes of 36 with 61% of one class being BED and other EC kids. That was 2002-03......still have the class lists!

So:

+1 for giving flexibility to local districts.
- 1 for doing it in such a way that people think the next thing is a funding cut -- if you don't need more teachers in K-3, then the state doesn't need to fund as many teachers
- 1 for not giving local districts the same flexibility on calendar

This is a politically tone-deaf move. The Democrats will cast it as "harming our youngest students."

Will the Democrats be

Will the Democrats be wrong?

Plenty of people here don't trust the school board to do what's right for kids, and now a bill that would allow them to have 35 or more kids in a 1st grade class is a good thing?

So....

I think the best long-term approach is to push as much authority to local districts as possible. Recall that I'm the one who wants to allow local districts to choose their curriculum.

Yes, I distrust the current board majority to do much right beyond tying their shoes in the morning. But, I think the benefits to decentralization more than outweigh the potential harm caused by occasional yahoos on local school boards.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.
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