Educators discuss class size impact with State superintendent
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WINSTON-SALEM — The State Superintendent of Public Instruction met with teachers and parents in Winston-Salem on Monday to talk about classroom overcrowding.
The meeting was part of June Atkinson's statewide Class size matters tour. Educators discussed how budget issues can strain the relationships they have with their students.
"Parents like smaller classes, why? Because they know their children have a much better chance of getting the individual attention when a child is struggling with reading or a child doesn't understand," said Atkinson.
The high school graduation rate is the highest in state history at 77.9 percent. Atkinson says to help keep that number high, class size needs to be lower.
"Our classes are much more diverse as far as needs of our children and so consequently some of those needs may go unmet when you have to too many people in the class," said Atkinson.
The 2010 census shows North Carolina is ranked 45th in the nation for public school funding. High school teacher Cristofer Wiley said many teachers are constantly doing more with less which can affect the quality of education students receive.
"You don't get the opportunity to really know those students and know their lives," said Wiley. "You know they don't turn in their homework but you may not know that there's not a quiet place at home, that a family member is in the hospital."
For some teachers, it is important to build long-lasting relationships with their students.
"It's kind of a stewardship to make sure that you take care of that responsibility. It's a very real thing, we're not just passing the time and watching the clock tick," said Wiley.
Atkinson faces John Tedesco in the November election. Tedesco said students need more time with teachers and it is important to hire quality educators who can meet those needs.