First-grade students Stephanie Lopez Rivera (left) and Isabel Erdman participate in partner reading with the guidance of their teacher Emily Thomas on Monday at Horizons Elementary School in Appleton. Horizons is part of a state program to reduce class sizes. (Photo: Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
For one day in February, Rebecca Segal, a kindergarten teacher at Milwaukee French Immersion School, got to teach a smaller class. Instead of 30 kids, because of the bad weather, she had 12.
In a Facebook post, Segal described the day in her classroom in idyllic terms. She was able to give her students more attention, and they were able to focus more clearly, even noticing for the first time that she plays music to start each day.
Her post, later adapted as a letter to the editor published by the Journal Sentinel, quickly went viral.
The post was shared hundreds of times across various Facebook groups. Teachers who shared the post voiced their support by simply writing “Class size matters.” Others said they wished they had more time for their students or shared how they are struggling because there are simply too many children in their classes.
But does research show that small classes are beneficial to students?