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The future of K-3 class size restrictions and what to expect from the General Assembly

N.C. Legislative Building

Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes, is an influential Republican when it comes to education, with leadership positions on the K-12 education, education approrpriations, and full appropriations committees. When he’s not at the General Assembly, he is a visual art teacher back in his home district. 

In the latest edition of EdTalk, host Alex Granados sat down with Elmore to talk to him about a variety of education topics, including the K-3 class size issue, principal pay, and what issues are likely to come up in future General Assembly sessions. 

Join the conversation

  • Alexa Goff

    Representative Elmore, the GA’s delay in resolving class size chaos flies in direct contradiction to many of the talking points you put forth in this interview.
    You say that the GA is exploring ways to recruit and retain quality principals, yet I can think of nothing more onerous to administrators than (a) not being able to plan for the 2018-19 school year, (b) not having enough physical space for additional classrooms, and (c) not having enough certified teachers to lead additional K-3 classes. While I am not a principal, I am (like you) a teacher with 17 years experience, and in my 17 years I have never seen administrators so on edge and so worried for their schools. If the GA wants to attract and retain quality principals in NC, it should not serve them a steaming heap of financial and logistical chaos. The best principals are consummate planners and by not addressing the many negative consequences of the class size mandate, the GA is stripping talented principals of the ability to make meaningful plans for the next school year.
    Next, you talk about how people in the GA have wonderful ideas, yet when those ideas are filtered through the bureaucracy of the legislature, those ideas just wouldn’t work at the school level. With all due respect, how on earth can you make that statement and not see how it correlates to the class size mandate?? Of course smaller class sizes in K-3 is a good idea in theory, but when smaller class sizes for K-3 will result in huge 4-5 class sizes, a potential loss of specials, plus a huge additional staffing cost to school districts and a need for massive capital expansion, then that idea simply won’t work in practice. Of course, there have been numerous studies which have demonstrated a benefit to smaller K-3 class sizes, but every single one of those studies was conducted on districts that FULLY FUNDED the smaller class size initiative. Sometimes, the way to effectively transfer an idea from theory into practice is simply to pay for its implementation. The GA must be willing to fully fund smaller class sizes, otherwise it will never be anything more than a good idea that falls apart in practice.
    Representative Elmore, stop the class size chaos. Don’t leave principals and district level administrators in limbo. Don’t leave kids broken-hearted that they may lose their art class. Don’t leave specials teachers fearful that they may not have a job. It’s time to take action and repeal the class size mandate.

  • Duh

    What utter nonsense. I’m sure in your day job you care about students, but the NCGA has clearly demonstrated it does not.

  • vivavars@gmail.com

    No point in saying you care if you turn around and vote the party line, i.e., privatization.

EdTalk Podcast

A weekly look at North Carolina education issues and policy.