Yesterday I mentioned that we have reached a new nearly 40 year low of percentage of personal income spent on government services. It now stands at $5.05 per $100 of personal income, the lowest since the gubernatorial days of Ronald Reagan. There are very real effects of that:
Over the past two years, California, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin have loosened legal restrictions on class size. And Idaho and Texas are debating whether to fit more students in classrooms.
Los Angeles has increased the average size of its ninth-grade English and math classes to 34 from 20. Eleventh- and 12th-grade classes in those two subjects have risen, on average, to 43 students.(NY Times)
I’ve never taught in a traditional school setting, but having worked with teenagers in the past, I can assure you that you can not teach a math class effectively to either 34 or 43 teenagers.
At some point, we have to take this information in and understand what the anti-government forces have done to our once proud public school system, and what they are doing to a social safety net that is stretched so thin that the wholes are visible from space. We all lose when one student fails because we couldn’t get them the resources they needed to succeed. We all fail as our students fall through the cracks.
UPDATE: I need to point out that part of the reason the number has decreased is that Brown’s budget calls for the shifting of some services from the state to local governments. This figure only covers the state’s portion.