for your feature story “36 kindergartners, 1 frazzled teacher” on Jan. 25,
highlighting a dedicated
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
, 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
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
children have the opportunity for a bright future.
A+ Illinois Campaign