Gov. Bill Haslam has decided to drop his backing of a proposal that would have allowed local school districts to increase average class sizes. We suspect it was the political pressure exerted by both educators and local school boards that convinced him to abandon this idea, not a philosophical change of heart.
Regardless of his reasons, Haslam is correct in walking away from this plan.
The governor wanted to let local school systems determine class sizes. He conjectured that doing so would allow school districts to better reward teachers who showed a knack for raising test scores in classes with more students.
That might be a reasonable plan if we were talking about packing more widgets into a box to ship them faster, but we aren’t. We are talking about the education of our children, and warehousing students in crowded classrooms is not the answer.
Both teachers and boards of education (including the Johnson City and Washington County BOEs) correctly agree that increasing class sizes is detrimental to learning.