Georgia Governor Signs Class Size Act

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Thomas County Middle School teacher Marcie West says she's in favor of Georgia's new class size act.

Marcie West says, "Having a set number of students makes instruction easier on the teachers. We have more time for individualized time with the children."

Under the new law, kindergarten classes with a full-time aide can't surpass 20 students. For grades first through third the limit is 21, and for fourth through eighth the cap is 28.

In high schools, the size limit for science classes will be 30. In all other classes the limit will be 32.

Thomas County Superintendent Dr. Larry Green says his schools already meet the new standards, but says that's only because his system opened two new schools last year.

Dr. Larry Green says, “The challenge is, if you have a small school and you have two classes of second grade, both of those classes have to have 21 in them. You get one more students and you've got to create a new section and hire a new teacher."

Though Dr. Green says those requirements will cause some strain on smaller school systems, he and other educators agree the law will benefit students.

Dr. Green adds, "We know that the research indicates that class sizes do affect achievement."

Marcie West says, "It's important for the students because they do get the individualized attention from the teachers."

The classroom head counts will start soon. The new class size act goes into effect at the start of the upcoming 2006-2007 school year.