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Smaller Classes Benefit Students and Teachers

Re “End Class-Size Straitjacket,” Opinion, April 27: Eric Hanushek’s comment that “pupil-teacher ratios have fallen nationally to under 16-1 today” makes my blood boil, and I am sure raised the temperature of every other teacher who read it. I have taught English classes of 40 and English classes of 36, and my son’s sixth-grade class currently has 35. Statistics can be twisted to support any lie; academic class sizes in L.A. County are usually 35-plus.

Linda S. Brown

English Teacher

El Segundo High School

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Hanushek cites a study of high school seniors to prove that K-3 class-size reduction, which began years after the seniors left those grades, doesn’t benefit kids? Or teachers? Or parents? Any of us who lived under both regimes would argue differently. The atmosphere in the classroom is incomparable to the old ways. My youngest son had 39 kindergartners in his class before class-size reduction. How can Hanushek honestly argue that reducing this to 20 doesn’t benefit everyone?

By the time my son was in first grade, class sizes were reduced. Now he is in sixth grade. I don’t think there is a test that can tell whether he is better off after class-size reduction in grades 1-3. But I think the kids, teachers and parents would be unanimous about it. Sadly, the real effect on education, if Hanushek’s argument against class-size reduction funding prevails, is to reduce the money available to schools. This won’t help anyone or anything.

Kathi Smith

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Member, Ojai Unified

School Board


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