Class size reduction a bust in Florida--will somebody tell the voters?

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Taking advantage of Florida's phased-in implementation of its 2002 constitutionally-mandated class size reduction, researcher Matt Chingos found no discernible effects on elementary and middle school student performance, attendance, school violence, or suspension rates. None.

In his words, "the results of this study do strongly suggest that large-scale, untargeted class size reduction mandates are not a particularly productive use of limited educational resources." This research is only the latest in a long line of studies that indicate that across-the-board class size reductions do not improve student performance.

In the eight years that Florida has had these class size caps in place, taxpayers have paid out $18.7 billion, nearly equaling this year's total state PK-12 budget of $18.1 billion.

Surely Chingos's research just came out too late to properly educate Florida voters? How else can we explain their defeat of a proposal to roll-back the final and most expensive phase of the reduction amendment? Sadly no, the research was out in September. Politicians understand the popularity of class size reduction; apparently we aren't as savvy.

Florida must now proceed full steam ahead with classrooms that may in no circumstances exceed 18 students in grades K-3; 22 in grades 4-8; and 25 in grades 9-12.