This past week, Q-line asked:

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials are considering increasing class sizes to cover budget shortfalls. Do you feel that increased class sizes would negatively impact students or do you believe that it is necessary in light of the current economic situation?

Here are your responses:

“Why is it that in times of stress the first who suffer are the children? Unfortunately, the greedy people who cause this are still living high, and their children are safely enrolled in private schools. We must protect our children even though we’re unable to protect ourselves.”

“When I went to school years ago, in another state, the class sizes were even larger. We all learned to read, write and speak proper English and do basic math. So a few more students in today’s classes should not matter that much. Depends on the students’ willingness and ability to learn, and the competence and interest of their teachers. If it helps the economy, I’m for it.”

“If the Santa Monica school district is anything like Los Angeles, they probably have a lot of illegal aliens in classes. They could kick them out, deport them, and that would free up space for people who actually have a right to be in this country. That’d save money, get rid of the illegals.”

“Of course extending the classrooms is going to have a negative impact on the students — that’s terrible. And what about the teachers? They got an extra workload now? Or are they going to be paid extra? Now these kids, they’re supposed to be the ones who are going to pay for this. And now we’re cutting back on their education. Now the city has showered all this money supposedly on education. Somebody please tell me, what does a stadium have to do with education? What course do they teach inside that multi-million dollar stadium that I guess we’re going to build from the bonds that we passed? How about the plans at Samohi now they’re putting in a swimming pool, a dance studio, what else. what does that have to do with education? It’s a shame that we dedicated all this money really to entertainment and left nothing for education! Now we have to expand our classes! It’s not what I would expect from Santa Monica.”

“While on the subject of schools and classroom size, I am more concerned regarding the disparity in learning capabilities of the students who sit in the same classroom at the same time together. I recall many years ago when I was in the eighth grade, there were three straight-A students, who were known to be brilliant. Two girls and one boy. I always felt those three students should have been placed in a higher learning class. Any one of the three could have stood up and taught the rest of the class who was struggling to rise above average with a few needing special tutoring. In the evening after school, the boy would assemble magnificent remote controlled gasoline engine model airplanes. One girl worked in her father’s hardware store, the other girl worked in her family’s bakery. The young boy who assembled airplane models became an airplane pilot with a major airline. The hardware girl expanded her father’s hardware business into a chain of hardware stores. The bakery girl became a Ph.D. and made teaching her career. As for my C-average self, due to my family owning horses, after school I would saddle a Palomino stallion and ride all over the countryside. Due to my love for horses, I eventually worked for a thoroughbred horse-racing turf club. There was something about the aroma of hay, oats and horse manure that turned me on. Something like the aroma of diesel fuel to a truck driver. A good teacher should be able to control and teach 30 students in one classroom, but no more than 30 if all students’ learning capabilities are equal.”

“When I went to school here in Santa Monica 50 years ago, there were 30 plus students in each class. Also, the elementary teachers had no edge like they do today. The reason teachers could handle the load was first, teachers were made of sterner stuff. Discipline was strictly enforced, school administrators backed their teachers, the board backed the principals, the PTA supported a no-nonsense board. What do we have today? A school board that should have seen this coming last August and started making plans. Instead of laying off people, close a couple of schools, especially the $30 million new Edison Language Academy. For every person laid off, the superintendent loses $100 from his paycheck. The board loses bathroom privileges for an hour. That kind of stress has a way of cutting dead wood real quick.”

“Sadly, the dire economic situation necessitates increased class sizes. Parents can minimize the negative effect of this by carefully making positive that their children do their homework and other required studies. Parents should not underestimate the great good they can do in this respect.”

“Do I feel that the increased class sizes would negatively impact students? Duh! I mean, is this left over from the April Fools’ issue? Of course it’s going to impact them in a negative way.”

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