Update: Just learned that the comment period has been extended, so the dates below have been extended as well.
Many of the most vociferous organizations that focus on the need for more data collection in schools and districts such as test scores have been silent on the need for more accurate and timely class size data, even though this is a key determinant of student success.
Research shows that class size matters for all students, but especially for disadvantaged students, who too often are subjected to excessively large classes. Yet currently, reliable, comprehensive, and timely data on class size is nearly impossible to obtain, especially data that is disaggregated by race, ethnicity and economic status.
Right now, the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is collecting suggestions on what additional district and school data they should
collect. Please consider signing your organization onto
this letter, also posted below, sponsored by Class Size Matters and Network for Public Education, urging them to
collect specific data on class size.
Not only is this information important for the purposes of
public awareness, research, and advocacy, but also requiring districts to collect
and report on this data may aid officials in analyzing disparities across
schools and help them improve and provide more equitable learning conditions.
If you’d like to sign your organization onto this letter, you
can do so by filling
in the form here, no later than Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022.
If you don't represent an organization but instead would like to send in comments as an individual, feel free to copy the letter below, and send in your own comments by
18 February 11 to the following webpage: https://www.regulations.gov/document/ED-2021-SCC-0158-0041
To the Office of Civil Rights:
The educators, researchers and advocates listed below strongly urge the Office of Civil Rights to collect and publish accurate and accessible data on class size, a key driver of educational equity. Students in smaller classes have improved outcomes in nearly every way that can be measured – including but not limited to better test scores and grades, fewer disciplinary referrals, and higher graduation rates, as rigorous research shows.
Moreover, those students who receive the greatest benefit from smaller classes are those from disadvantaged groups, including low-income families, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities. Yet currently, the availability of accurate and timely data on class size is sparse at best.
Thus, districts should be required to report this data in the following manner:
The average sizes of actual general education, inclusion and self-contained special education class sizes reported by grade and disaggregated by category, rather than pupil-teacher ratios.
The distribution of class sizes by category and grade, including the 25th percentile; the median class size; and the 75th percentile, to be able to analyze disparities across the district.
Finally, the data above disaggregated by the following subgroups: race/ethnicity,
gender, free-lunch, disability, and English Learner status.
Only if such data are reported in this fashion can we begin to analyze whether school districts throughout have provided this critical educational resource in an equitable manner.
(list in formation)
(asterisk means affiliation for informational purposes only)