Letter to the Editor: Ballooning Class Size Tied to Inadequate School Funding - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Letter to the Editor: Ballooning Class Size Tied to Inadequate School Funding

Thank you for your feature story “36 kindergartners, 1 frazzled teacher” on Jan. 25, highlighting a dedicated Chicago Public School teacher struggling to manage an unrealistic class size. However, your article might lead some of your readers to think the situation in the spotlighted school is the rule and not the exception. Though this school had available resources to reduce the class size, the reality is that too many schools throughout the state are overcrowded because they don’t have enough money and have to make hard choices about where to spend what little they do have.

All across the state, from Elgin to East Saint Louis , educators would jump at an opportunity to reduce class sizes; they don’t want to have class sizes of over 30, sometimes over 40, children with vastly different academic skills and needs. However, four out of five school districts are currently in the red, leaving them few resources to invest in reduced class size and other programs proven to improve student learning.

The real problem is the lack of political will amongst state leaders to adequately fund our public education system. The state of Illinois still shortchanges its children by more than $1,000 a year per child by underfunding the foundation level, the minimum amount the state guarantees per pupil. Adequate state investment in education would provide local educators with the resources to implement programs that work, such as reduced class sizes in the early years and early childhood education programs, which the Tribune praised in its editorial on January 26.

State leaders must put school funding reform at the top of their “to do” list during this new session of the General Assembly. It’s time to fix our broken school funding system to provide adequate and fair funding so that all of Illinois ’ children have the opportunity for a bright future.

Bindu Batchu

A+ Illinois Campaign Manager

Keywords

Education

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