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Parents 4 Teachers analysis of CPS class size
2017-2018

Parents 4 Teachers (P4T) analyzed class size data for the 2017 – 2018 school year. We compared the fall 2017 class sizes for each class in CPS to the guidelines in the CTU/CPS collective bargaining agreement to determine the extent to which those unenforceable and unreasonably high guidelines are being met by the district. Those guidelines call for no more than 28 students in grades K – 3 and no more than 31 students in grades 4 – 6.

But since the district’s guidelines are set at excessive levels, we also compared the data to what we believe is a more just and educationally sound standard—the class size average at the University of Chicago Lab School, the school the mayor’s children attend. That school’s guidelines call for elementary classes of between 23 – 24 students.

We found:

  • 21 percent, nearly 50,000, students in grades K – 8 attend classes in excess of the guidelines called for in the CTU contract.
  • 73 percent, over 160,000, students in grades K- 8 attend classes larger than the average class size at the U of C Lab School.
  • As of the date of the data, 18 CPS elementary school classrooms had 40 or more students.

Reducing class size is one of most effective ways to improve student achievement. In fact, according to the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, it is one of only four evidence-based reforms that do so. But CPS refuses to even address the issue with parents and educators and, thanks to school closings, student-based budgeting and other wrong-headed policies, class size is ballooning across the district.

In many other school districts in Illinois, class size is capped in the collective bargaining agreement and when classes exceed the guidelines a grievance can be filed under the contract. In CPS, the guidelines are just that, guidelines. They are not enforceable. And Illinois is one of just 14 states that don’t have class size limits.

The current CTU contract won important resources for reducing class sizes in K-2nd grade. But as the data below show, tens of thousands of students are still suffering in overcrowded classes. That’s why we support HB 4776, which would give Chicago teachers the right to bargain and strike over class size and other quality of teaching and learning conditions, and HB 5481, which would set reasonable statewide class size targets of  between 18 and 25 for K – 12.

CPS Class Size grades K – 8

Compared to Avg. Class Size* at U of C Lab School

Grade Level

Number of Classes

Total Students

Number Over-Crowded Classes

Number  Students in Over Crowded Classes

Pct Classes Over-Crowded

Pct Students Over-Crowded

K

961

23,949

497

14,562

52%

61%

1

967

24,663

556

16,110

57%

65%

2

981

25,309

595

17,312

61%

68%

3

1,027

27,177

690

20,015

67%

74%

4

972

26,321

684

20,262

70%

77%

5

962

26,638

734

21,826

76%

82%

6

946

25,828

678

20,325

72%

79%

7

908

24,582

615

18,573

68%

76%

8

935

24,947

619

18,631

66%

75%

TOTAL

8,659

229,414

4,568

167,616

53%

73%

*  Average class size at University of Chicago Lab School is 23 – 24, depending on grade. This analysis uses 24 as the point of comparison.

CPS Class Size Compared to CTU Contract Guidelines

Grade Level

Number of Classes

Total Students

Number Over-Crowded Classes

Number Students in Over Crowded Classes

Pct Classes Over-Crowded

Pct Students Over-Crowded

K

961

23,949

156

5,374

16%

22%

1

967

24,663

146

5,076

15%

21%

2

981

25,309

173

5,934

18%

23%

3

1,027

27,177

105

3,823

10%

14%

4

972

26,321

144

5,146

15%

20%

5

962

26,638

178

6,270

19%

24%

6

946

25,828

158

5,759

17%

22%

7

908

24,582

126

4,862

14%

20%

8

935

24,947

123

4,816

13%

19%

TOTAL

8,659

229,414

1,309

47,060

15%

21%


* CTU/CPS contract guidelines recommend no more than 28 students in a class for grades K – 3 and 31 students in Grades 3 – 8.

CPS Classrooms with 40 or more students

School Name

Grade Level

Class Size

Ninos Heroes Elementary Academic Center

5

46

Dr. Martin L. King Jr Academy of Social Justice

Multiple-ES

43

Mildred I. Lavizzo Elementary School

1

42

Virgil Grissom Elementary School

4

41

Sauganash Elementary School

K

41

Francis W. Parker Elementary Community Academy

8

41

Ralph H. Metcalfe Elementary Community Academy

4

41

William W. Carter Elementary School

K

40

Virgil Grissom Elementary School

7

40

Everett McKinley Dirksen Elementary School

8

40

Everett McKinley Dirksen Elementary School

8

40

Sauganash Elementary School

K

40

Esmond Elementary School

6

40

Henry O. Tanner Elementary School

8

40

Ninos Heroes Elementary Academic Center

K

40

Wendell Smith Elementary School

K

40

Luther Burbank Elementary School

1

40

Charles G. Hammond Elementary School

7

4


* Data represents a snapshot of class size as of the date of the data, Feb. 2018.