Final phase of class-size amendment too costly, Florida Tax Watch contends
Just days after the Florida Education Association moved to toss Amendment 8 off the November ballot, Florida Tax Watch has issued a "research report" contending that failure to pass the so-called "right sizing" amendment to the state's 2002 class-size amendment carries too great a cost.
The group, citing the writings of several groups that have opposed or criticized Florida's voter-imposed student-teacher ratios, says that taxpayers will carry a huge financial burden of up to $4 billion annually if voters do not scale back the mandate.
At the same time, the group argues that the quality of Florida's education might suffer as school districts struggle to meet the expenses associated with the original amendment.
"If class-size reduction is not mitigated by Amendment 8, what can Florida taxpayers expect to see in their children’s classrooms over the next decade? A few things:
• Closed classes and schools due to maximum enrollment per class;
• Constant student transfers from one class to another or even to another school;
• Elimination of middle and high school elective courses so that teaching positions can be redirected to critical core courses; and,
• Reduction in the number of support services and staff."
We've heard many teachers say that smaller class sizes make a major difference in their instruction. We've heard some academics say it has less influence on academic success than what the proponents claim. There's been little research that really shows how well smaller class sizes truly matter. What have been your experiences with class size and Florida's efforts to reduce it?