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Letter: Overcrowded Classes

To the Editor:

Our world-class schools are the number one reason businesses and families come to Fairfax County. But people will not move here once they see many of our overcrowded classes.

We now have the distinction of having among the largest class sizes in the area and Virginia state law does almost nothing to protect our children. Current student to teacher ratios are calculated at the county level and afford administrators way too much leverage where they can place as many kids as they want in a classroom, just as long as divisionwide, they do not exceed the state ratios.

Given that Virginia already has the highest caps in the country, we are headed down a very slippery slope. How are children expected to learn and teachers to teach when there are as many as 37 little 8-year-olds stuffed into a crowded classroom, which we see at Wolftrap Elementary School?

Parents from Wolftrap and other schools met with Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34) this past weekend to discuss this very issue. The meeting room was packed with parents, educators, taxpayers, even people without children—it was standing room-only—clearly indicating that class size is a huge problem in our area.

Barbara has been listening to her constituents. She proposed a bill to reduce average class sizes, by requiring the state's class size ratios to be applied to each school, instead of allowing excessively large classes in some schools to be balanced by much smaller classes in others.

We need to support Barbara’s new bill (HB1556) so that crowded classrooms do not erode Fairfax County’s growth and economic base and to also ensure that our school system remains the best in the country.

Kim Farrell

Mother of two FCPS students

Vienna