Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten on Federal Legislation to Reduce Class Sizes

For Release: 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the Smaller Class Sizes for Students and Educators Act, expected to be introduced today by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.):

 “Class size matters. That is, of course, if you care about the success of our students. That’s why the demand for smaller class sizes was central to so many of the teacher walkouts this year. You simply can’t offer students the engagement that is instructionally necessary with 40 or 50 kids in your classroom.

“It’s common sense that when classrooms are overcrowded, it is harder for teachers to teach and students to learn, and the research shows this: Smaller class sizes are directly linked to higher rates of student success. Most private schools have small class sizes, but shouldn’t we make sure it’s not just the wealthy whose kids have that opportunity? Sen. Merkley’s bill is a means to help make that possible for every student in this country.

“This legislation helps incentivize reducing class sizes, particularly in low-income districts that need it most. It’s an investment in students, in teachers and in the future success of our nation’s public schools.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.