Guest editorial: Park City teachers say don’t forget to vote on Tuesday
Ryan Summerlin June 20, 2014
Park City School District accomplishes much for a 3A school district. PCSD students regularly score higher than the state and the national average on SAT and ACT test scores, a large percentage of our student body takes advantage of AP classes and our pass rate is higher than the national average. Our graduates get into the best colleges in the nation. We also offer unprecedented opportunity and support for English language learners, special education students, artists, musicians and athletes.
However, if the Park City community wants to maintain a first-class school district there is still work to be done. PCEA leadership believes one of the most important factors currently affecting our educational progress are large class sizes. Since the school district cut the number of classroom teachers three years ago, there has been an increase in class sizes. When the school board approved a tax increase, teachers and the community thought that class sizes and total student loads carried by teachers would be restored to previous levels. Instead classroom sizes, especially in the secondary schools, have remained high.
Are class sizes of 30 or more our new normal? Increasing class sizes and increasing total student loads is not a formula for improving education. PCEA feels these numbers are unacceptable and the district should be doing all it can to reduce class size and bring them back to past levels.
Do the current and potential school board members understand the importance class sizes? PCEA believes the core of any school district is the instructional classroom. This is where direct instruction occurs and has the greatest impact on students. While we are fortunate to have leaders of high integrity and vision, PCEA worries that our district is adding new initiatives at the expense of maintaining reasonable class sizes, which in turn negatively influences our children’s education. Simply put, when it comes to numbers of students in the classroom, size matters.
Superintendent Dr. Conley deserves credit for addressing class size issues. Thanks to Dr. Conley both Ecker Hill Middle School and Park City High School were allocated additional FTE’s for next school year. This will help and is a step in the right direction, but we still have a long ways to go.
Finally, the Park City Teachers Association would like to thank all of the candidates for their time and energy during their three-month campaign and wish them all good luck in Tuesday’s primary.