Class Size Expansion

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - High School Junior Jackson Gladwin’s education has benefited from smaller classes.

“When you have too many students in there, you know, it’s over whelming to control the classroom,” said Gladwin.

Because of the class size amendment passed by voters in 2002, Jackson’s core classes can’t exceed 25 students. But that will likely change soon.

Both state houses have passed legislation cutting the number of classes defined as core curriculum from 8-hundred to about 3-hundred.

“The legislature’s responsibility to define which courses were going to be considered core and I think that’s always an evolving process because courses change,” said Rep. Erik Fresen.

There’s still discussion among lawmakers about exactly which classes are considered core curriculum under the new legislation

But journalism, advanced placement classes, and foreign languages are likely to fall off the list.

That concerns Jackson, who says his French class would be much tougher with more students.

“If there are too many students in there, It gets noisy, you know. It’s noisy when there’s 25 kids, but it’s easier to calm down than having 40 kids,” said Gladwin.

For principals, the concerns are even more severe. They say the changes will result in teacher layoffs.

“I won’t know until it all shakes out how it’s going to work, but here I just hired seven or eight teachers last year and now I’m going to have to let them go,” said Hanna.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic are guaranteed protection. What may also be off the chopping block are social studies classes because the Senate president teaches the subject to Florida college students.

Legislative leaders asked voters to pass a ballot measure to scale back the class size requirements because they said the issue couldn’t be addressed legislatively. The constitutional amendment failed, and now lawmakers are moving forward with their legislative fix.

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