Removing caps on class sizes is a failure of both education and economics

Jan 25 2019


Information for context and related in Manitoba and across Canada

The new Ontario government is considering removing the caps on the class size of kindergarten and primary grades. This already done in Manitoba in 2017 to try and reduce spending while out of control bureaucracy and spending left mostly unchecked. There is several indications it having many of the ill effects found elsewhere limits removed.

The MB government precently announced they are undertaking an independent review of the education system due to poor performance and much higher than average operating costs. This to include the possibility of amalgamating school boards, elected trustee positions and divisions.

Manitoba currently has 38 school boards which was reduced from 57 in the 90’s.
Winnipeg has six different school divisions unlike other large communities across the country like Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton and Ottawa who have moved to just one or two as of May 26, 2018. There is some level of independence for public, private, francophone, seperate and charter.

Alberta, BC and Ontario have amoung the lowest average class sizes and ranked amoung the best for performance and efficiency. There is other factors involved than limited number of divisions, bureaucracy, ratio of students to teachers like number of teacher aids and specialty staff but they are significant.

Sadly it more related to bloated bureaucracy in school boards and divisions consuming more and more with less and less available where it needed most.
Many directors or superintendent are more worried about a legacy

Similar in government along with unethical influence and corruption which forces finding new ways to tax, levy, fine, divert to sustain.

The MB Government is saddled with $24 Billion in net debt and annual deficits up to $1 Billion plus Billions of dollars of debt and rapidly rising at MB Hydro.

This all from years of incompetence, fiscal mismanagement and corruption in government, Hydro and other Crown corps. Now they choosing to cut services including education and others more than reign in bloated bureaucracy and related spending and corruption. They also choosing to not properly fund and support corruption investigations and prosecution. Likely as it would lead back to them or others in that have dirt on them.

Wealthy communities can get by with more income tax, property tax and school tax hikes. They can make up for cuts to education and poor education system performance with fund raising, paying for field trips, tutoring or private schooling but poor communities can’t and many facing higher rates of poverty, drug use, addictions, depression, suicide and abuse.

Class size averages and limits across Canada – Feb 2017

More details on Education performance, ranking and much needed reforms


Lifting the cap would be all about dollars. So the obvious case to be made – that lifting caps will increase teacher-burnout and absenteeism, lower the level of instruction and possibly even jeopardize student safety – will land on deaf ears.

The good news is that there’s also a strong economic argument to be made in favour of capping class size. The bad news is that it involves long-term thinking.

Success in the early years is a high predictor of later success in both school and life – this is the premise on which full-day kindergarten programs are based.

An exhaustive study published last year by the German Institute for Economic Research on the correlation between class size and student achievement. Analyzing the test results of 38,000 primary students across the country, the authors determined that children in classes with fewer than 20 7students learn more, learn better and are less likely to fail (still an option in Germany) – and that the investment required to maintain this ratio more than pays off in the reduction of remedial supports and student’s higher economic performance as adults.

Full article

Removing caps on class sizes is a failure of both education and economics

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things that I think are a matter of public interest or that I think others will be interested in
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