When does a Kindergarten classroom go from being crowded to overcrowded? 20 students? 25 students?
How about 55?
According to The Detroit News today, the Detroit Fire Marshall responded to a complaint at Nolan Elementary School and found the kindergarten class so overcrowded that they issued the school a safety citation. According to the News, the school had put at least 55 children into that one classroom, while a science class at one of the district’s high schools had 72 students packed into it. In total, more than 200 classrooms throughout the Detroit Public School system, and countless others throughout the state, are over class size limits.
These are the consequences of taking nearly $1 billion out of public education as Governor Snyder and Republican legislators chose to do earlier this year in order to pay for their tax handout to big corporations. Schools throughout Michigan have lost upwards of $470 per pupil, forcing schools to be closed, teachers laid off, and classrooms to grow substantially.
55 kindergarteners in 1 classroom likely means that teacher is forced to spend far more time simply trying to keep that classroom under control than they are educating those young students. This should be unacceptable to any parent in any school district, just as it should be for legislators here in Lansing.
The concerns for our children’s education should be obvious after reading this story, however since Governor Snyder likes to focus on how he’s making Michigan more business friendly, the question remains how he expects to attract new businesses to Michigan when they see stories like this. Study after study shows that education and quality of life play a large role in where companies choose to locate and expand their business and a company is simply not going to pick Michigan if their employees’ children are going to be packed into overcrowded classrooms once they get here.
This story should serve as a wake-up call for Governor Snyder and his fellow Republicans to realize the critical importance of investing in our public education system rather than attacking it as they’ve done throughout 2011. Public education must serve as the foundation for a rebuilt Michigan. If we fail to build that foundation properly, the entire effort will unfortunately suffer the consequences.
I hope you’ll contact your state legislators today, as well as Governor Snyder, and tell them that 55 kindergarteners in a single classroom is simply unacceptable and that it’s time for them to make that investment in K-12 education that our children deserve.