How Many Students Should There Be In An Arizona Classroom?
A Response to the ATRA Special Report April 2009
A recent ATRA Special Report was released suggesting an improvement to the Arizona Public School System by recommending more children per classroom to make funding cost effective. However, the recent ATRA Report admits two important facts:
1. Arizona spends only $6,248 per student–which ranks the state 50th in expenditures per pupil (ALEC 2007)
2. Arizona has the second highest student teacher ratio in the nation: 24.2 students to 1 teacher (ALEC 2007)
Although ATRA references these numbers in their report, they choose to make some interesting mathematical calculations to create a seemingly logical recommendation. Basically, they suggest that if you have more students in a classroom than any other state, other than Utah, one simply multiplies the spending per student by the total number of students in an already overcrowded classroom and that mathematical product boosts Arizona to 16th in expenditures per classroom. Interesting math. ATRA maintains that “Arizona’s low rankings in per-student expenditures reflects the efficiencies gained by maintaining full classrooms.”
Is there a difference between “full classrooms” and “overcrowded” classrooms? We think so. There is a marked difference in how a classroom functions with 25 students versus even 22.
What do Arizona Parents and Community Members want for Arizona students? How many students should be in a classroom? One conservative group suggests 50 students in a classroom. Could you imagine your child in a classroom of 50?
What Can You Do ? Make sure your legislators know that overcrowded classrooms in Arizona are not the answer. They place Arizona at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the country. The Arizona state constitution requires that the legislature will “make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their development and improvement.” Hold your legislator accountable to improve the education of Arizona students.