In just three years, California’s class size reduction program in kindergarten through the 3rd grade has unraveled at a rapid rate, and continues to do so.
The purpose of the program, which began in 1996 when the state was enjoying a budget surplus, was to reduce class sizes in those early grades to 20 students, in the belief that smaller class sizes improve student academic outcomes.
The program has cost the state some $25 billion in direct funding from Sacramento since its inception, in addition to the billions more that local school districts have had to spend to cover the full costs of the program.
But an EdSource survey of the state’s 30 largest school districts found half of the districts now have 30 or more students in one or more K–3 grades during the current school year. (Survey results were based on information supplied by school officials.)