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White House report: rising class sizes threaten education of U.S. children

Budget cuts, teacher layoffs result in spike in teacher-student ratio

WASHINGTON - August 17, 2012 -

President Obama released a new White House report, Investing in Our Future: Returning Teachers to the Classroom, this morning in his weekly address. According to the report, more than 300,000 local education jobs have been slashed since 2009, resulting in a 4.6 percent increase in the teacher-to-student ratio from the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2010, from 15.3 to 16.0. 

Below is National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel’s statement on the report:

 “President Obama is recognizing the importance of smaller class sizes in student achievement and the detrimental effects budget cuts have on our students, and we applaud him for that. Gov. Romney has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in the impact of keeping class sizes small, despite evidence to the contrary and despite what parents across this country know.

 “Some people are looking for a silver bullet, but there are no shortcuts to student learning. Class size is a critical piece of the school improvement puzzle and we cannot ignore the positive effect that personalized learning has for kids. As the president has said, when we are looking for solutions that work, let’s not overlook common sense fixes like smaller class size and early education.

 “This report reminds us that we have a choice to make in November between two visions for America. President Obama’s, in which all students deserve a great education; and Gov. Romney’s, in which kids get the best education their parents can afford.  President Obama continues to show his commitment to improving our education system by investing in our students.”  

 For more information on the importance of class size on student achievement, visit  

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing

more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson (202) 822-7823,