Whereas, North Carolina PTA believes that
- every child must be provided with a well-rounded, high-quality education, which will ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential and become productive members of society.
- specialized instruction in physical education and the arts, such as music, literature, dance, drama, and visual arts are central to learning. Infusion of the arts in elementary, secondary, and continuing education curricula is key to the development of students and an important element of a well-rounded, high quality education.
- the teaching of the arts and physical education must be done by qualified teachers who are trained in these specialized fields.
Whereas, The North Carolina General Assembly established new class size limits for grades K-3. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences resulted in an un-funded mandate that would require hundreds of new K-3 teachers in public schools across the state, the creation of new classroom spaces and possible elimination of art, music and PE teachers and classrooms in order to comply with the mandate.
Whereas, PTA members, parents and teachers across North Carolina are deeply concerned about the effects of the new class size mandate. North Carolina PTA conducted a survey of 55,000 PTA members in NC, 80% of whom live in urban areas (Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham, Guilford, Forsyth and New Hanover counties) and 20% who live in more rural areas. The survey asked what types of effects their schools were seeing this year, and would potentially see next year as a result of the law.
The results of the survey were similar among urban and rural areas. School districts statewide will feel the following effects as reported by PTA members who responded to the survey:
- larger class sizes in grades 4-12 (60%)
- specials taught from mobile carts or outside their regular classrooms (56.2%)
- inadequate funding for specials teachers or loss of specials teachers (71.6%)
- paraprofessionals/teacher assistants or classroom teachers teaching specials classes that are normally taught by a licensed specialists (28.5%)
- inadequate classroom space to accommodate additional classrooms in the school building (66.5%)
- use of non-classroom space (i.e., gyms, cafeteria) to accommodate additional classrooms (36.2%)
- more than one class in a shared classroom space (32.1%)
Whereas, the bylaws of the National PTA and North Carolina PTA both state that a core purpose of PTA is to secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth. In keeping with that mission, the North Carolina PTA encourages and supports initiatives at all levels of government to assure that every school system has sufficient funding to provide every child with an opportunity for a sound basic education. That includes sufficient funding for qualified teachers in all classrooms.
Whereas, the aforementioned effects of the class size mandate are barriers to a well-rounded, high-quality education for our students. Larger classrooms in higher grades, inadequate classroom space and the potential elimination of specialized instruction in the arts, music and PE are unacceptable results of smaller class sizes in grades K-3. Although National PTA supports efforts at the federal, state, and local levels to reduce class size in the early grades for the purpose of improving children’s academic achievement, smaller class sizes can not justify the destructive and devastating effects of the class size mandate on our school districts across the state.
Resolved, North Carolina PTA
- encourages the North Carolina General Assembly to fully fund the class size mandate and allow school districts adequate time over a period of years to implement the new limits.
- alternatively requests that the General Assembly restore local flexibility over class size to the original House Bill 13, which allows local districts flexibility to change the Kindergarten to Third student ratio up to six additional students in an individual class or average ratio increase by three additional students per school;
- and/or establish a hardship waiver for school districts whose quality of education will be diminished through the class size mandate.
Resolved, North Carolina PTA also asks the North Carolina General Assembly to resolve the class size issue quickly, as waiting until the short session in May will be too late for school districts as they plan budgets and make hiring decisions for the 2018-2019 school year.
Adopted by the North Carolina PTA Board of Directors
January 4, 2018