View Full Version : Public Schools 50,421 Chicago kids in homerooms over the class size limit

05-16-2013, 10:40 AM
From WBEZ (http://www.wbez.org/news/education/50421-chicago-kids-homerooms-over-class-size-limit-107196) by Linda Lutton:

More than 1,560 homerooms in Chicago public elementary schools are over the school district’s class size limits, according to numbers obtained by WBEZ and Catalyst Chicago Magazine from Chicago Public Schools. The revelation comes as Chicago is proposing to shut down a historic 53 grammar schools. Activists have raised repeated concerns that the massive restructuring will result in more overcrowded classrooms.

According to records, 50,421 children are in homerooms that are over the suggested class size limits. The numbers show 26,545 of Chicago’s littlest learners—in kindergarten, first or second grades— are in classrooms with 29 or more students. The district’s own guidelines say classes should be capped at 28 kids for younger students, 31 for third graders and up.

Eight thousand elementary school children are in classes with 35 or more students. Some are in homerooms of 40, even 45.

Wendy Katten, CPS parent and director of the nonprofit Raise Your Hand, says the numbers heighten her group’s concerns about the impact of closing schools. “Parents want class size addressed by the district,” says Katten. “And instead we’re moving to consolidate schools. 129 schools are going to be impacted with these closings. And what we’ll have is overcrowding and higher class sizes.”

The schools targeted to close or receive students tend to have lower class sizes than the rest of the district’s schools, the numbers show. On the low end, many classes have just a dozen or so students.

School officials have admitted privately that class sizes will increase for students in closing and receiving schools. They do not believe classes will hit 36, as activists have charged.

But the numbers obtained from the school district show that 18 percent of all elementary school homerooms have quietly crept over the recommended class size limits written into the teachers contract and school board policy.

“I hear members constantly letting me know that their class sizes are over what’s recommended in the contract,” says Chicago Teachers Union financial secretary Kristine Mayle. “This has been going on for years, it’s getting worse each year, and with this round of closures I think it’s going to make it even worse.”

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