Overcrowding in Schools
As of Oct. 16, the Salem-Keizer School District holds 41,965 enrolled students and is the second largest school district in Oregon, with numbers predicted to keep growing. Of those enrolled, South has around 1,920 students taking classes within its building which was originally made for about 1,000 students in 1954.
South has drastically increased in student population over the course of 63 years, meaning South has approximately 1,000 more students than the originally prepared for leading to overcrowding in high schools. This is a major issue in high schools in the Salem-Keizer School District, including South and Mckay High School with over 700 too many students. With the amount of students expected to keep growing, the issue presses on students, teachers, administrators, and faculty.
Overcrowding has led to a multitude of educational problems including a negative effect on the quality of learning. Overcrowding has led to the loss of the teacher-student connection, it is harder for students to focus, student personal needs are often not met, and time management is a major problem for students and teachers.
“When the caseload is smaller, we can spend more time with each student and it makes our job much easier,” Todd Bobeda, a counselor at South Salem High School, said. “As a previous teacher, it is huge difference to have 30 in a classroom than it is to have 40. Smaller class sizes allow a teacher to be more versatile and spend more time with kids. It is a huge deal.”
“In a sense, once the class size passes a certain point, the teachers are bound to ‘fail’ because the demands on their time cannot be met,” as found by research study done by the University of London in 2009, found on the Teachhub website.
This supports the idea that abnormally large class sizes make it very difficult for teachers to instruct effectively, and therefore leads to students’ education suffering.
“Students in smaller classes perform better in all subjects and on all assessments when compared to their peers in larger classes,” as found by the National Council of Teachers of English [NCTE] in a research study led in 2014. “In smaller classes students tend to be as much as one to two months ahead in content knowledge, and they score higher on standardized assessments.”
Overall research has pointed to the fact that public schools largely have too many students, and the issue needs to be solved. To fix the problem, administrators have discussed the possibility of building new schools, adding onto old ones, and possibly changing the district’s boundaries, but these ideas have been shut down due to a lack of funds. Overcrowding is a pressing issue that must be solved quickly.