MDUSD Reducing Class Sizes in 2014-2015

April 7, 2014 10:52 am · 34 comments

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is reducing class sizes in 2014-2015, according to Ayers Elementary Principal Susan Petersen.

I am happy to let you know that our district will be reducing class sizes in Transitional Kindergarten through third grade, beginning in 2014-2015.

TK and Kindergarten will be capped at 29 students; first, second and third grade classes will have a maximum of 28 students each. We are looking forward to having a Transitional Kindergarten class at Ayers next year, as well as a new primary classroom to accommodate the lower class sizes.

Good news!


Angelface April 7, 2014 at 11:04 AM

That IS good news.

Bittersweet April 7, 2014 at 11:21 AM

It is good news but at the same time, those numbers are still high!! It will only reduce class size by a few students at the most. Most K-3 classes are at 31 students now. It should be closer to 20 to really make a difference.

teacher mom April 7, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I agree that while it’s a step in the right direction, the numbers must be lower to have a real impact on the learning. And for those of you who don’t agree, just sit for a week in a classroom and see how much individual attention some kids need, yet don’t receive. Of course if the parents would spend some time on academics at home, it would make a HUGE difference………….

BetterNews April 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I’m glad of the slight class reduction, but with the problems with kids these days, wouldn’t it be nice to shrink class sizes down to 20/class. Kids these days are not disciplined or raised well. The teachers and anyone who has to deal with kids are the one’s who have to suffer. I feel sorry for teachers. They make so little, and have to deal with all of the problem kids. Many years ago, class size was reduced to 20. It would be great to go back to those class sizes.

Concord native April 7, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Good teachers are so underpaid …try sitting in a class with 30 kids & 1 teacher (let’s say 25 kids are doing what their told & 5 are not) you would not even last 1day without screaming…..some parents have no clue & are quick to blame the teacher for any issue…class size reduction is a win win for the kids

WC Friend April 7, 2014 at 12:58 PM

What effect will this have on the NUSD plans?

Go NUSD!!!

-Your WC Friend

well... April 7, 2014 at 1:03 PM

When I was in grade school ( mid 70’s) the average class size was 32 students. To reduce the size to 20 would require more teachers. Unless you want to start paying to send your kid to school, it will stay at about 28 to 30.

J April 7, 2014 at 1:04 PM

This is a first round of class size reduction. If I remember correctly, there is a track of reductions that will go on until 2018. I’m sure someone else here will know the timing and the reduction numbers. The schools probably don’t want to publicize future numbers because class size reduction was taken away before.

PH Parent April 7, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Wonderful – not “enough” of a reduction, but a great start! Our classes are crowded, and our district is too big!! I do recall being in a 30-ish size class in the early 80s, but schools had more resources back then. With the substantial budget cuts over the years, the teachers can barely function with 32 kids. I am lucky that my kids attend Strandwood, which has a phenomenal group of volunteer parents helping out in the class and with special programs, but unfortunately not all schools in our district have the same level of support. I am hoping this reduction is one of many changes to come for bettering our PH schools (an MDUSD as a whole).

volunteer April 7, 2014 at 1:30 PM

You’re right “Better News”! If the students today were well-behaved and respectful, then the larger class size wouldn’t matter. However, these days they’re just entitled, self-centered little brats, who know very well that the teacher or administration can’t do a thing about their behavior or Mommy and Daddy will sue the teacher, school and district. Gee, you wonder why schools aren’t producing the quality of students they used to produce?????

Let our people go! April 7, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Go NUSD! Too little, too late MDUSD. Love, Walnut Creek

chalkboy8 April 7, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Maybe they could have fewer inservice days.

94598 April 7, 2014 at 2:18 PM

a little too late to pretend to turn things around with a tiny change- Go NGUSD
Norhtgate Unified School District

Bill P April 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM

The problem is not the size of the classes, the problem is those who cause the teachers to slow down to accomodate.

? April 7, 2014 at 3:05 PM

What is a “transitional” kindergarten?
There used to be 20 students per class in the lower grades. Why was it change?

Random Task April 7, 2014 at 3:36 PM

wow the dem lemmings must be really narrow minded if the MDUSD really thinks this is what will keep parents happy with the crooks running the show. So sorry it’s that easy ……WOW

Spanky Fortuna April 7, 2014 at 4:35 PM

I’d prefer to have elementary instrumental music reinstated. It’s important for the welfare of our community.

Sacto Rob April 7, 2014 at 4:45 PM

Several studies, included studies funded by the teachers’ union, shows that class size reduction really doesn’t do that much and can often hurt kids. Class size reduction forces districts to hire more teachers, and lets teachers with seniority pick the easy-peasy classes in the easy-peasy schools. Good teachers can handle big classes, but lousy teachers suck at their jobs no matter how few kids suffer under them. It’s a feel-good scam to get more teachers paying more dues to the union. We spend more money but kids don’t really benefit.

Clayton Squirrel April 7, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Elementary music would be a great thing to have back. I will second that suggestion. Small class sizes are important as well. That was probably the number one reason I switched to private school for kid number two. Everyone in Spanish class gets a chance to speak among other things. Every kid can be a major contributor in a debate when there’s only 20 kids in a class.

Yaz April 7, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Yay! Thank goodness! I’ve got a 2nd grader and a transitional kindergartner. Can’t wait for them to be reduced further!

Lisa April 7, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Another thing they don’t tell you- When class size is capped at 29, that doesn’t mean there will be no more than 29 students total in each classroom. That means that the district divides the number of total students in the school by the number of total teachers, and that final end number will not be higher than 29.

The difference? Because many students with special needs, IEPs or other requirements receive one on one instruction, or are taught in a modified classroom setting of only a few students, that means that other classes will be larger in number than 29. Maybe up to 35 or more. You see this even more at the high school level.

Lisa April 7, 2014 at 6:33 PM

But I do agree that reducing class size is one of the most important things that can be done to improve education. I just want to point out how school district administrators juggle numbers to make it sound like they are doing more to improve class sizes than they really are.

Silva April 7, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Oakland Unified reduced class sizes 20 years ago, and they average around 22 students per teacher.

Michelle April 7, 2014 at 7:31 PM

Small sized classes are better learning environments; when my went to elementary school, the classes were maxed at 20. Glad to see this reduction.

RANDOM TASK April 7, 2014 at 7:57 PM

yeah several of my studies revealed so much gov waste you would not believe how much dare I say trillions …with a T…..yeah how good is a study done by the ones being studied …sounds like cal trans and every other dem program in this state. Criminals making their own laws to make their stealing legal. Welcome yay

theevaluator April 7, 2014 at 8:30 PM

Don’t know why Kinder is reduced from 32 to 29 instead of 28. Who’s brainchild was that? Never heard of think-pair-share, turn to your partner, etc? Why not reduce it by one more and make it the same as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades? I wonder sometimes!

Teacher Wannabe April 7, 2014 at 8:54 PM

@Spanky Fortuna. Excellent idea. Studies have proven that music, dance, drama, etc make for better academic achievements.

Doctor J April 7, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Gradual class size reduction is like cutting off the tail of a dog an inch at a time. Next year you will see more combination classes and more children from the lower socio-economic overcrowded schools transferred to less crowded higher socio-economic schools, families will be split, and all of this due to lack of prior planning by Rose Lock and SASS who could have started this planning months ago. It became the law a year ago. MDUSD with its head in the sand once again.

mika April 7, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Does a reduction of five students make that much of a difference? Doesn’t seem enough.

theevaluator April 7, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Why don’t they reduce class size further? District officials, administrators, et al will quote studies that say class size reduction does nothing to improve student performance. They will say it has to do with the quality of the teaching/teachers. While the second point is absolutely true, fewer students in a class equates to more personal attention and less kids that could potentially disrupt the teaching environment. Why do you think the better/higher performing/more affluent schools have more parent involvement, teacher aides, etc? It reduces the student to teacher ratio and thereby creates a better learning environment.

Antler April 8, 2014 at 7:53 AM

This is a good start…but not an EXCELLENT start. By 2018, the standard should be improved so that grades Pre-school through 1st grade have no more than 24 students. Teachers of those grade levels should have an assistant who is preferably an education major working toward student-teaching credits. In addition to the student teacher, each of those classrooms should have at LEAST one parent volunteer.

Also, assuming that a child’s art training began in pre-school, then instrumental music should be offered beginning in 4th grade. Evidence from innumerable research studies prove the correlation between studying the cultural arts and the characteristic of self-control. Other positive results are an astoundingly greater ability in reading comprehension and increased mathematical acuity. All these practical results produce happier, more self-confident and better-behaved young students. Worth our paying extra? YES!

teacher April 8, 2014 at 10:58 AM

In Pittsburg I have 27 students in 3rd grade. K has 32+, 1st and 2nd have 28 and 4th and 5th have about 36. Those numbers are way too high. When I started teaching about 20 years ago K-3 had only 20 kids in a class. What Happened?

AldrigeFamily April 8, 2014 at 3:34 PM

People really what is the problem, only here is good news met with distain.

Doctor J April 8, 2014 at 4:48 PM

why gradual CSR ? Check out tomorrow’s outrageous raises for administrators including the Big Four — retroactive and forward only through June 30, 2014. Then the Dent and site administrators will be asking for bigger raises starting July 1, 2014. The Big Four contracts expire June 30, 2014. Will Dr. Nellie keep the Big Four ? If not why give them raises on contracts they negotiated themselves ?

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