WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement of support for a bill sponsored by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), which would create a $500 million fund for school construction geared toward school districts with student-to-teacher ratios greater than 25-to-one, to be introduced this week:
“Students succeed when they’re in schools equipped with the resources, tools and conditions that promote high-quality teaching and learning. The teacher walkouts this year in Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia and elsewhere made clear that putting public education on the budgetary chopping block has resulted in overcrowded classrooms nationwide, making it more difficult for educators to effectively reach individual students and cater to diverse needs. More than a quarter of states lack class-size restrictions, yet state governments are still failing to budget for new schools and additional teachers.
“This bill does just that. Lowering class size is crucial to student success, and we’re proud to support Rep. Crowley’s legislation. It seeks to meet a critical need in our public schools, investing much-needed dollars in overcrowded districts and reducing student-to-teacher ratios specifically in disadvantaged communities.
“Research from the U.S. Department of Education identifies class-size reduction as 1 of only 4 evidence-based reforms that have been proven to increase student achievement. When it comes to improving our kids’ educations, let’s invest in what works.”