Friday, November 01, 2002


According to the 1984-85 budget book published by the Omaha Public Schools, the average elementary school class that year had 24.8 students (page v). That fell to 19.26 students by 2001-02, according to p. 13 of the current budget book available at www.ops.org

So average class size in OPS has been reduced by more than 22 percent in the last 15 years. And yet, back when there were many more kids per class in OPS, here's what the same page in the 1984-85 budget book said about academic performance in those "crowded" classrooms:

"The performance of Omaha's public school students on standardized tets has been exemplary, with mean scores ranking substantially above averages for national norms. The large number of scholarships and academic awards, as well as consistent honors in music, the arts, and athletics further attest to the continued high quality of the educational programs provided by the Omaha Public Schools."

But now the pro-spenders in OPS want $115 million in extra property taxes with Tuesday's levy-lid override vote in order to keep class sizes small or reduce them. Meanwhile, everybody's complaining about test scores in OPS. So . . . doesn't history show that the kiddies did better when class sizes were LARGER? Maybe THAT'S what OPS should be doing. Go figure.

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