About-face on class size: Dorn calls for increases

April 14, 2014

Though he claims the plan he released today will provide “full funding of basic education,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn has proposed gutting Initiative 1351 and raising class sizes above the voter-adopted standards that are now law in Washington. 

The I-1351 class-size requirements the Superintendent seeks to overturn came directly from the recommendations of the Quality Education Council, a bi-partisan panel that Dorn chaired in 2009. The council was charged by the legislature with recommending strategies to eliminate the achievement gap and reduce drop out rates. 

“We are deeply disappointed in Randy Dorn's about-face on this issue,” said Class Size Counts Director Mary Howes. “Though the Superintendent claims to have ‘conferred with experts and education stakeholders’ in developing this plan, he’s completely left out the real experts on class size: They are the parents, teachers, students and the voters of Washington.”

Howes noted that Dorn’s plan also eliminates the new requirement for smaller classes in high-poverty classrooms, where students especially benefit from additional teacher attention.

Polling released last week indicates that a solid majority of voters believe officials in Olympia should adhere to the new class-size law.  

“We’re asking voters, once again, to remind their legislators that class size matters for kids at every level,” said Howes. Lawmakers can be reached through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

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