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Farmington Schools Have A Class Size Problem -Where's Garofalo?

Category: Education
Posted: 08/23/10 00:22, Edited: 08/23/10 00:24

by Dave Mindeman

Here in the south metro, we have a legislator who is the ranking Republican on the Education Committee in the State House. He has railed about the teachers union, he has blasted state spending in education....he even took on hip-hop as an after school choice.

He is Rep. Pat Garofalo, District 36B - Farmington.

But in Garofalo's own district, parents are speaking out about class sizes. Several families have wanted to get information on class sizes sooner than the District was comfortable with. Both sides had reasons....parents wanted the opportunity to change schools if the class size was out of line. The District wanted to wait with any announcement until they knew where enrollment would be and they could finalize teacher-student ratios.

Farmington is a growing community with a number of young families with elementary school children. They have concerns:

Kim Dahlberg, parent of a North Trail second-grader and a middle school seventh-grader, voiced concern about high projected class sizes of 30 to 32 students in second grade.

30 to 32 students. That will be tough on students and teachers.

Here is a furthur breakdown:

* Second grade at North Trail Elementary with about 120 students, which could mean 31 students in a class.

* Second grade at Meadowview Elementary with an estimated enrollment of 109 students, which could mean up to 28 students in a class.

* Second grade at Akin Road Elementary that currently sits at about 108 students with up to 27 or 28 students in a class.

* Second grade at Farmington Elementary with about 111 students that means classes could run with 28 or 29 students.

* Fifth grade at Farmington Elementary that has about 96 students and could mean class sizes are as high as 32 students.

Something is wrong here. Of course, Rep. Garofalo will probably blame it on the teachers. Or he will blame it on the school board. Or he will blame it on hip-hop.

Certainly it has nothing to do with billion dollar shifts...or budgetary concerns.....or shifting burden to property tax payers who have had enough and reject new levies.

You would think that a district that has the GOP ranking education member watching over them could count on some help.

But then, Garofalo is better at being a critic, than a problem solver.

You know, Farmington, you might want to consider a change to a Representative who really understands education....take a look at Sigrid Iverson in 36B. Someone who will work toward solutions and not rants.
comments (3) permalink
08/24/10 09:47

What a great story ? parents asking where they should send their children based on class size ? not bean-counters defining how many teachers can be hired.

Studies have found that small classes allow teachers to spend more time on instruction and less on classroom management.

The major concern is that these 28-32 class sizes in the Second Grade will most likely continue as the students? progress to higher grades.
Colleges are now finding that too many students start off in remedial class for math and English. Minnesota State - Mankato has a new policy that requires students to meet certain benchmarks to be eligible to take English composition which is a required course for all students while some students must complete Math 098 before enrolling in a credit-bearing mathematics course. Foreign language courses are also a problem.

This is a good issue for November?s election ? on one side is the incumbent known for attacking teachers and on the other side is Sigrid Iverson who has worked in the education field. Reading her profile, it states ?Sigrid strives to empower her students to use their energy in positive ways as a key to their success. Education is Sigrid?s motivation, and knows the importance of a child's education and the enormous potential that knowledgeable citizens bring to the community. Sigrid strongly believes in the power of community collaboration.?

08/23/10 13:04
30 years ago all my classes from 1st grade on had 30+ students. We excelled academically. Teachers have gotten soft and lazy. We cannot continue on this road we have followed this last generation.
08/23/10 10:35
Or he'll blame it on the teachers' union, his favorite boogeyman these days.


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