Noha Elbaz: A union for Clovis teachers could well improve the learning experience for students
College administrator Noha Elbaz wrote an op-ed for the Fresno Bee, explaining why a teachers’ union would be good news for everyone, and class size matters.
When my eldest son started 4th grade, I remember being horrified to find that he was in a class with 36 other students. What do you mean 37 kids in a class? In the Clovis Unified School District?
I started my career in education in an underserved district in Arizona, teaching 6th grade, and my class size was considered outrageous at 32. But here I was, in a district with a reputation for being great, dropping my son off to be one of 37 kids in a class. When I asked his teacher if volunteers were needed, she looked around the room and chuckled, saying there was little space in the room for extra helpers.
Clovis Unified does not tout the fact that starting in 4th grade, classes can go up to 37 students. I have yet to meet anyone with or without a background in education, who responds to that number and says “that makes sense.” Yet, year after year, it remains the same. On the middle school and high school level, the load on teachers increases even more. As the load increases on the teachers, the individualized time per student continues to go down.
In education, there is little that trumps smaller class size. This is not a debatable point, it’s been proven time and again by study after study — smaller class size is an important factor in student success. It is also a factor in teacher satisfaction and retention. Allowing teachers more time with each student allows them to be at their best.