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Letter to Representative Wu supporting his class size reduction bill

June 18, 2007

Dear Representative Wu:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 2.8 million members, we would like to express our support for H.R. 2668, which would help reduce class sizes through recruitment and training of highly qualified teachers.  

As you know, reducing class sizes has a positive impact on maximizing student learning and closing achievement gaps. Simply stated -- when qualified teachers teach smaller classes in modern schools, students learn more. Teachers with small classes can spend time and energy helping each child succeed. Smaller classes also enhance safety, discipline, and order in the classroom. 

Research clearly demonstrates these positive impacts. Tennessee's longitudinal class-size study -- the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) project -- found that students enrolled in small classes as youngsters were more likely to complete advanced math and English courses, finish high school, graduate on time, and graduate with honors than their peers who did not benefit from reduced class sizes. A report by the American Educational Research Association found that, for minority students and students in inner-city schools, smaller classes can reduce the achievement gap and lead to fewer students dropping out or being held back, fewer disciplinary actions, and more students taking college entrance exams.

We are pleased that H.R. 2668 would provide grants to help school districts reduce class sizes, particularly in the early grades, by recruiting and providing professional development for qualified teachers. In so doing, H.R. 2668 would make a real difference in helping fulfill every child's basic right to a great public school. 

We thank you for your continued leadership on this important issue and we look forward to working with you toward passage of this important legislation. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy