State Capitol Report: Governor Wants Larger Classes

Feb 13, 2012

Governor Bill Haslam wants to open the door for larger classes in Tennessee’s schools. The governor says with bigger classes, local school boards will need fewer teachers, and be able to pay the remaining teachers more.

“Our object is not just to have larger class sizes in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “We know that’s not the right idea.  The idea is to give flexibility where local school boards can use it to, in some cases, pay teachers more.”

But the governor is getting criticism from some educators who say bigger classes aren’t good for students. The Johnson City Board of Education passed a resolution opposing Haslam’s plan and sent it to the governor’s office.

Capitol reporter Joe White said many legislators aren’t sure what to make of the governor’s plan, because Haslam is still fine-tuning and adjusting details of the legislation.

“They’ve been sort of iffy about it,” White said.

“On the flip side of that,” White continued, “they’re listening to people in their districts and coming away with what may be a different attitude about these things than what the governor would prefer them to have.”