One of the most important factors in education is classroom size. Classroom size doesn’t refer to the physical size of the classroom. Rather, it refers to the number of students in the classroom. The lower the number, the better.
The National Education Association (NEA) states that the optimal classroom size is 15 students. This is for regular programs of teaching; for specialized programs such as those for students with exceptional needs, the classroom sizes should be smaller.
Few classrooms in any school meet this guideline. Budgeting simply does not allow for enough schools and enough teachers to be able to make classrooms of this size. Many schools consider themselves lucky if they are able to keep classroom sizes under 25 or 30 students.
Classroom size is important because if a teacher has too many students in her classroom, she is not able to give each student much one-on-one time. Teachers with smaller class sizes are capable of giving students more individual attention which, in turn, helps these students to better succeed in school.
Smaller classes are also better because of issues of safety and discipline. It is much easier for a teacher to keep order in a classroom with, say, 15 students than it is to keep order in a classroom with 35 students.
The students would also agree that they prefer smaller classes, too. In smaller classes the students find that it is easier to learn. Students like the availability of one-on-one time with the teacher, as that is much more valuable than group instruction.
The only way classroom sizes will really change is if parents get involved. Parents must make education reform an important goal of their elected representatives. Political lobbying and petitions can help, as can phone calls, letters, and emails to congressmen and state representatives. Classroom sizes need to change, and they might—if parents step in and help.