“I feel as a parent, as someone who’s volunteered in the classroom every year, there’s a level of stress in the building that I haven’t felt,” said [Maeve] Clarke, the mother of a Longfellow second-grader. “There’s an overemphasis, out of necessity, of focusing on being quiet, staying in line, at the expense of focusing on learning.”A few observations:
First, I support the petition. Thirty-four kids is way too many for one classroom, and it’s hard to understand why one school should have such a disproportionate number of large classes. Unfortunately, smaller class sizes, like those at Hoover, haven’t prevented the additional stress on the kids and the overemphasis on being quiet and staying in line, because of PBIS. Longfellow is just now in its second year of using PBIS.
Second, the superintendent points out that class size is driven in large part by the legislature’s determination of annual “allowable growth” for school district spending. It seems at least worth asking why state law should prevent a school district from choosing, through its elected representatives, to raise and spend more than the state-mandated amount of money on public education.
Third, if the overcrowding gets any worse, Longfellow parents might want to try what Detroit parents tried.