News Releases

Senator Murray Challenges Bush Administration to Fully Fund Smaller Class Size

Mar 06 2001

Announces results of new study finding long-term social, academic benefit of smaller classes

(WASHINGTON, DC) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today called on the Bush administration to fully fund an education initiative designed to reduce class size. She made the challenge during the anouncement of a new study that found long-term social and academic benefits of smaller classes. Sen. Murray's class size amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) would help communities recruit and hire 100,000 teachers to reduce class sizes in the early grades, where students must learn to master the basics, like reading and writing.

Yet, the Bush administration is planning to eliminate the federal class size initiative altogether, according to the budget sent to Congress last Wednesday. Instead, President Bush has proposed sending the funds to states in a block grant, which would force schools to make a false choice between teacher professional development and smaller classes in the early grades. Senator Murray believes we can support both of these priorities.

"Study after study shows that smaller classes help children," Sen. Murray said. "Today's report reveals that the benefits of smaller classes are not only better test scores, but improved social behavior and greater personal responsibility."

Sen. Murray appeared at a press conference with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Dr. Alan Krueger, an economics professor from Princeton University. Dr. Krueger was releasing new results of "Project STAR," a 16-year study of nearly 12,000 students which measures the impact of smaller classes on student achievement.

Dr. Krueger found that the long-term social benefit of being in a smaller classroon include better scores on standardized tests, a higher propensity to take college entrance exams, a lower teen pregnancy rate, and possibly a lower crime rate for teens.

"President Bush must realize that our children learn better and they behave better when they are given the attention they need," Murray said. "Children learn personal responsibility and they are taught right from wrong, when they know someone cares about them. In a classroom with 18 students, they get that attention; in a class of 30 or 40, they do not."