Tulsa Parents Express Concerns With Increased Kindergarten Class Sizes

Tuesday, June 21st 2016, 11:03 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa kindergarten classes will be crowded next year; the school board says the student-to-teacher ratio will be 26-to-1.

While administrators announced the student-to-teacher ratios are going up across the district, it's the kindergarten ratio that caught the attention of many young families in the area.

For some, like Renee Nevers, those classes are already too full.

"It's tough to get through one days' worth of class with one kid, I can't imagine 26 kids," she said.

Tulsa Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Deborah Gist, said budget shortfalls are to blame.

“There are definitely increases that are concerning to all of us," Gist said. “Our teachers aren't receiving the salaries that they deserve and we want to have smaller class sizes."

Nevers' daughter is headed into second grade. The 26-to-1 ratio has her feeling relieved, knowing her daughter passed those classes.

6/20/2016 Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools Approves $545M Budget

“I'm going to have a heart attack,” she said. “That is just way too much. I don't understand how one teacher is going to be able to manage that many small children."

Experts say early education is vital to establishing good learning habits in children.

Nevers agreed, saying, “They are little sponges when they're this age. That is what they do, they just absorb everything. And if they don't have anything to absorb, they're falling. They're going to fail."

It’s a feeling shared by Crystal Teygong, whose 3-year-old daughter, Charlotte, is headed to kindergarten in the next two years.

"Having a size like 26, there is no way that they can get to each child and teach them what they need to learn," she said.

Nanette Trainor and Sylvan Learning Center say success is directly correlated with low student-to-teacher ratios.

“Part of the reason why what we do works is because our teacher-student ratio is 3-to-1 or less," Trainor said.

Teygong agrees.

"Definitely, that was one of the reasons why we decided to go private as opposed to public," she said.

Several state lawmakers are up for primary elections next week, so Gist encourages you to vote for those who support adequately funding public education so the district can hire more teachers and shrink class sizes.