$2 in benefits (Krueger 2003). This estimate does not take into account savings from lower rates of grade retention or special education referrals, both of which are quite costly andwould likely fall if class sizes were reduced. Yet another study suggests that smaller classeswould produce large medical savings because of improved life prospects, concluding,“Reducing class sizes may be more cost-effective than most public health and medicalinterventions” (Muennig & Woolf 2007).In 2009, the New York City Department of Education estimated that it would cost $358.4million to achieve the class size goals in their C4E plan of no more than twenty students onaverage in grades Kindergarten through three, twenty-three students in grades four thougheight, and twenty-five in high school (New York City Department of Education 2009). Yetthe city spends nearly one billion dollars subsidizing charter schools, and its total education budget is more than $21 billion, so achieving these goals would cost less than 2 percent of its overall budget.
Researchers, educators, and parents agree that class sizes should be reduced in New York City schools to improve student outcomes, to provide a more equitable opportunity for children to learn, and to narrow the achievement gap.
For more studies that show correlations between smaller classes in the middle and upper grades and improved academic outcomes, see the Class Size Matters fact sheet, “Theimportance of class size in the middle and upper grades
Examples of Best Policy and Practice
In 2012, as in earlier years, the Icahn charter schools outscored all other New York Citycharters on the state standardized exams in reading and math. These schools cap class sizeat eighteen students in grades Kindergarten through eight (New York City Charter SchoolCenter 2012; Gonen 2009).In California, the Quality Education Act of 2006 provides funding for reducing class sizesto twenty students in grades Kindergarten through three, and twenty-five in grades four through twelve in schools with large numbers of low-income, minority, and Englishlearners. Since then, 85 percent of these schools have met their goals for improvingoutcomes (Malloy & Nee 2010).In 2003, Florida voters approved a change in their state constitution requiring a gradualreduction of class size in all grades. This led to a cap of eighteen students per class ingrades pre-Kindergarten through three, twenty-two in grades four through eight, andtwenty-five in high school, to be achieved by the 2010-2011 school year. Between 2003and 2009, the state’s students experienced significant gains on the national assessments