The University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education reports that the across-the-board mantra, “smaller is better,” may not be the best tactic for every school. According to The Opportunity Cost of Smaller Classes: A State-By-State Spending Analysis, smaller classes often equal a hefty price tag.
“The cost nationally of maintaining current class sizes, compared to increasing the average by 2 students, is $15.7 billion per year, or an average of $319 per pupil,” the study reports. “Adding the cost of benefits for the extra teachers required to keep class sizes low drives up the estimate to over $20 billion nationally.”
“With the exception of the Tennessee STAR study, which has provided the strongest evidence to date of the positive effects of CSR [class-size reduction] in the early grades, much of the more recent research shows negligible or modest positive effects on test scores when class sizes are reduced by one or two students,” stated Jerusha Conner, education professor at Villanova University.