Oregon ranks 49th in the nation in student-to-teacher ratios, according to a recent study (pdf) by the National Center for Education Statistics. On average, Oregon public schools have 19.4 students for each teacher. Washington didn’t fare much better with an average of 19.2 students per teacher. Measuring student/teacher ratios are not exactly the same (pdf) as measuring class size, though the numbers are related. So, Oregon may have even bigger classes than the report suggests. How much does that actually matter?
Some academics argue that reducing class size won’t solve underlying problems in the education system. They claim student success has more to do with a teacher’s approach. Class size remains at the top of the list for others, who say smaller groups of students get more individual attention from their teachers and obtain a better education as a result.
Do you remember how many kids were in your classes? Did that make a difference for you? Is class size something you consider when choosing a school for your child? Why or why not?
- Lynne Shlom Ferguson: Regional administrator for Portland Public Schools
- Beverly Coursey: Principal of Nathan Clifford Elementary School in Portland, Maine
- Evangeline Ahmen: Science teacher at A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama
- Leonie Haimson: Executive director of Class Size Matters
- Amber Winkler: Research director for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute