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Coverage of Florida Constitutional Amendments: Number 8

Permalink 10/31/10 00:48, by OGRE / (Jeff), Categories: Welcome, News, Background, In real life, On the web, History, Politics, U.S. Economy

Over the next couple of days I'm going to put in my two cents on the Florida ballot.

Florida Constitutional Amendment Number 8 as written on a sample ballot:

NO. 8
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
ARTICLE IX, SECTION 1
ARTICLE XII, SECTION 31

Revision Of The Class Size Requirements For Public Schools

The Florida Constitution currently limits the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in public school classrooms in the following grade groupings: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 18 students; for grades 4 through 8, 22 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 25 students. Under this amendment, the current limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in public school classrooms would become limits on the average number of students assigned per class to each teacher, by specified grade grouping, in each public school. This amendment also adopts new limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in an individual classroom as follows: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 21 students; for grades 4 through 8, 27 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 30 students. This amendment specifies that class size limits do not apply to virtual classes, requires the Legislature to provide sufficient funds to maintain the average number of students required by this amendment, and schedules these revisions to take effect upon approval by the electors of this state and to operate retroactively to the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.

This amendment represents a retraction of the class size limits enacted back in 2002. Obviously the legislature underestimated the cost of implementing the class reduction plan, now they want a way out.

I would consider releasing some control at the state level to be a good thing. History has proven that when control of a complex system is centralized its efficiency and quality decrease. I'm sure that more teaching jobs would be filled if the class size limits were left as they are now, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the level of education will increase.

The general lack of quality public/government education throughout the entire country is a direct result of the centralization of power within the school system. When a standard is set, what do most people do? They meet the standard. Since there is no incentive to surpass the standard; you end up with a large bloated system devoid of improvement. Or in the case of Florida you end up with teachers who teach kids how to take tests, not subject matter.

In other words; the entire government school system is poorly structured and inefficient. Class sizes, outside of extremes, will have no effect on this whatsoever.

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