Showdown at the Class-Size Corral

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Under current Texas state law, class sizes must be capped at 22 students for grades K through 4. The law allows superintendents to seek a waiver from the Texas Education Agency. However, they must first give parents and teachers a chance to weigh in during a public hearing--that is, until recently. As of October 5th, state school chief Shirley Neeley is now allowing superintendents to circumvent the public hearing.

Recently, two Texas teacher organizations filed suit against Neeley. According to John Cole, president of the Texas Federation of Teachers, “The commissioner of education has bypassed parents and exceeded her authority with her move to weaken class-size limits by taking away the opportunity for parents to go before their local school board and discuss or protest any move to cram more kids into classrooms.???

It remains to be seen whether Neeley's move will have an impact on the number of waivers sought and received. Last year 1 out of 10 districts in Texas sought and were granted a waiver.