DAVE & DUJANOVIC
A hidden consequence of Utah’s crowded classrooms?
Sep 14, 2021, 4:00 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 12:38 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Crowded classrooms in Utah schools are nothing new. And they will probably get even larger as Utah is the fourth-fastest growing state in the US in 2021.
- Idaho (6.26%)
- Nevada (5.23%)
- Arizona (5.06%)
- Utah (4.99%)
Teachers also seem to be harder to find:
- In Utah, 42 percent of new teachers quit within five years of starting, and more than one-third of those who leave the profession do so at the end of their first year, according to the Utah State Office of Education.
- In 2017, only 34% of our new teachers came from Utah’s academic teacher-prep programs, compared to 58% in 2007, according to Envision Utah.
Crowded classrooms get worse as children age
Jennifer Boehme, executive director of UEA, joined Dave & Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio to discuss attracting and retaining teachers and dealing with crowded classrooms.
Boehme cited average teacher/student ratios for Utah public school classrooms:
- Kindergarten through third grade: 20 to 23 students.
- Upper elementary school grades: 24 to 27.
- Middle school and high school: 27 to 30.
“The more students that are there [in class], the more needs there are and the more thin the teacher is spread in trying to meet those needs,” she said.
Top 5 states with the Most Crowded Classrooms*
1. Arizona – Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 23.53
2. California – Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 23.08
3. Utah – Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 22.75 ( ratio exceeds the national average by 32 percent.)
4. Nevada – Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 21.45
5. Oregon – Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 20.21
*according to Insurify
Teacher turnover costs
Boehme said when teachers quit their jobs, they take school district resources with them.
“Districts invest a lot of money in their new teachers, training them on various programs . . . and that training is expensive and can be lost when a teacher leaves the profession,” she said.
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