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Nevada class sizes could rise under Assembly bill

CARSON CITY — Class sizes could increase in Nevada under a bill heard by lawmakers on the Assembly Education Committee on Tuesday.

Also, charter schools would have to abide by class sizes under Assembly Bill 42.

The bill would expand the maximum teacher-to-pupil ratio in kindergarten from 16 to 18 students per teacher; 16 to 20 per teacher in first and second grades; and 18 to 20 per teacher in third grade. For English and math classes, ratios would be set at 25 pupils per teacher in fourth, fifth and sixth grades and 30 pupils per teacher in seventh through 12th grades.

Under the bill, schools would be required to report their class sizes to the state, which will track the data.

“We want to make sure that we capture the data on class sizes within all of those schools, as well as our public schools,” said Jhone Ebert, the state superintendent of public instruction.

The bill would also change how often schools have to report to the state when they exceed class size numbers from once per quarter to once per year.

The bill faced opposition from teachers union officials, including Clark County Education Association President Marie Neisess.

“You have to understand that larger class sizes negatively impact human achievement,” Neisess said. “Larger class sizes affect teachers’ ability to meet the needs of struggling students. Class size negatively impacts at-risk students because it limits the time an educator can spend on small group instruction needed for remediation.”

Her concern was echoed by Nevada State Education Association Assistant Executive Director Lisa Guzmán, who said increasing ratios “is a move in the wrong direction.”

“While there are certainly important provisions in AB42, including making pupil teacher ratios applicable to charter schools, NSEA disagrees with increasing the maximum ratio in grades K-3,” Guzmán said. “With some of the largest class sizes in the nation, Nevada should be doing everything possible to reduce class sizes across all grade levels. Increasing ratios is a move in the wrong direction.”

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on Twitter.

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