MEDIA RELEASE: New Report: Small class sizes especially critical for kindergarten-3rd grade students

Trying to balance the budget by expanding class sizes cheats kids, robs society of a vital public investment, writes Justice Center expert

RALEIGH (June 11, 2009) -- Both houses of the North Carolina legislature have proposed increasing class sizes in the public schools as a cost-saving measure.

However, a new report from the NC Justice Center shows that increasing class sizes - especially in kindergarten through third grade - will result in a decrease in education quality and lead to a loss of student achievement that will never be recovered

"It is critical that 2008-09 class sizes be restored in the 2009-2011 budget, at least for K-3," writes Dr. Stephen Jackson, an analyst with the NC Justice Center's Budget & Tax Center.  "Not restoring K-3 class sizes will have a lasting effect on our children. This is not a cut that can be restored later for children who will be in K-3 over the next two years."

In particular, Jackson writes, students from low-income households will be denied an opportunity to catch up to their peers if class sizes are increased in the early grades.

After reviewing the available literature, Jackson concludes that the evidence for increased class sizes harming young children's ability to learn is overwhelming.

The report is online at:

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Steve Jackson, policy analyst, Budget & Tax Center, 919.856.2151; Jeff Shaw, communications director, NC Justice Center, 919.863.2402 (office), 503.551.3615 (mobile).