Teachers, Parents React To Larger Class Sizes

The North Carolina State School Board is discussing class size limits following changes by the General Assembly that allow more students in classrooms.

Teachers, principals and parents we talked with at Carolina Forest Elementary in Jacksonville believe the increase means less time for individual attention.

Shannon Porterfield has 27 fourth graders this year. That's the highest number of kids in her ten years of teaching. She says, "They leave at three so you only have those precious hours to work with them and you can't give them the one on one that you'd like to give them."

Helen Gross is the principal at Carolina Forest Elementary and says, "Our class sizes have grown over the past couple of years. Each year they do tend to get a little bit bigger."

Gross says when she took the job five-years ago she had 590 elementary students at her school, this year there are 973.

Gross says, "The reality is, the smaller the group of students are, the better the educational opportunities are going to be for those students."

With budget cuts, school officials say they can't afford all the teachers they need to keep class sizes small. that worries parents like dawn Jensen.

Changes adopted by the General Assembly include eliminating class size limits for 4th graders and up. Kindergarten through third grade are supposed to have no more than 21 students.