Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

EDUCATION; Change May Come

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

EDUCATION; Change May Come

Article excerpt

Legislatures constantly tinker with the law. They may pass a statute one year -- then, after seeing some unintended consequences, modify or even repeal it in subsequent sessions.

Florida voters are being asked to do something similar. Last year, they approved a constitutional amendment placing caps on public school class sizes. Now, they are being asked to remove those caps on grades 4 through 12.

State Sen. Burt Saunders, who is circulating petitions to get the proposal on the ballot, concedes there is a link between class size and test scores in the lower grades. But, since there is a dearth of evidence that it makes much difference with older children, Saunders thinks money for grades 4 and up could be better spent.

Clearly, the cost of compliance is enormous, and that has caused some upheaval. Teacher pay raises were minimal. Elective programs were curtailed. Portable classrooms began springing up. Eventually, less-qualified teachers may have to be hired to fill the new classrooms. …

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