The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

California Schools:
Sky’s the Limit—For Class Size

Apr 6, 2009

California politicians, Democrat and Republican alike, are telling school districts they’ll have to run schools with 10% less money from the state–which provides more than half of the schools’ funding.

To facilitate the cuts, the politicians quietly lowered the financial penalties for districts that violate the 20:1 student-to-teacher limit for elementary schools. For high schools, they did away with any limit altogether!

If there is one indicator for student success, it’s small class size. Problems in big city schools are tied to the fact that teachers have too many students to give the attention needed. In the working-class neighborhoods of Los Angeles, classes are already super over-crowded. Los Angeles school officials say they expect class size in 11th and 12th grades to surge from 40 to 43. Imagine yourself in a classroom with 43 teenagers!

The announcement that 26,000 California teachers might be laid off drew some outcry from parents, students and teachers. Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, announced he would release four billion dollars that could be used for California schools–but he left it up to the state how to spend it. State politicians said they had to keep part of the money to balance the state budget. And school officials complained that, because of deadlines set by the state, it’s too late to change their budget plans.

It’s the usual blame game politicians always play. They could cut all the red tape to get the money to the schools–if they wanted–and they could do it fast. They certainly did it for the big banks and AIG!