Support local journalism by subscribing today! Click Here to see our current offers.

For the third time in as many years, Oregon lawmakers will be asked to require school districts around the state to negotiate class size with their teachers. In addition, this year’s bill — House Bill 4094, sponsored by state Rep. Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard, and Brian Clem, D-Salem — would also make caseload limits a required bargaining subject.

Lawmakers so far have given the first proposal a wide berth, and they should do so again this year. There are two main problems with it, one of which also applies to the caseloads proposal.

It’s true there is evidence that smaller classes in the early grades produce better educated students. Unfortunately, the research is far from conclusive. But it does make sense.

Then there’s this: School districts in Oregon start each year with a specific amount of money, and they have only limited ability to raise more. A requirement that class size be reduced could force a tradeoff in curriculum or some other aspect of education that’s equally important. A bargained reduction in caseloads could lead to the same result.

Oregonians want the best for their children, no doubt. They also know that the state’s resources are limited. This bill might mean smaller classes, but the cost may be higher than supporters of the measure acknowledge.

— The (Bend) Bulletin



From now through April 30th, new subscribers can receive home delivery of The World plus Full Access to all online content +E-editions for 50% off our monthly auto-pay rate! $29.98 for 60 days.

Call 541-266-6047 to sign up!

Email Newsletters

Load comments