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Parents, Teachers To Rally For Class Size Law Repeal

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista
A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.

More than one hundred educators, parents and state residents are expected to demonstrate at the state legislature on Saturday afternoon. They want lawmakers in Raleigh to repeal a class size mandate that has school districts across North Carolina scrambling.

The 2016 law requires smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade and will go into full effect this fall. Lawmakers who support the move say it will improve student learning.

Parents and educators critical of the legislation worry it will have the opposite effect. That’s because legislators didn’t provide any funding to school districts to make classes smaller.

To come up with the extra classroom space and teachers needed, school officials are having to make tough decisions, like cutting music, art and physical education classes. Others are considering reducing or cutting pre-kindergarten programs for low-income students, or increasing the number of students in fourth and fifth grade classrooms.

Organizers of the rally on Saturday  want legislators to repeal the mandate when they meet next week. That would give school officials enough time to modify their plans before formulating budgets for the next school year.

Lisa Philip is an occasional contributor to WUNC. Previously, she covered education for the station and covered schools in Howard County, Maryland for the Baltimore Sun newspapers.
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