Letter to the Editor: We need smaller class sizes in our schools


Dear Editor:

I’m a small business owner and a mom of a soon-to-be-6th grader and future kindergarten student at Mountlake Terrace Elementary. Education is very important to our family, but I never envisioned I’d become an education activist. However, the state of education funding in our district and in Washington State has me deeply concerned. We, the parents, need to take action so that our kids get the education they deserve.

Do you know the projected class sizes for your child’s class for next year? The District has staffed schools “conservatively” for next year, so it’s likely that currently class sizes are projected to be higher for next year than they are this year. For example, at Mountlake Terrace Elementary the current projected class size information I have is 30 or more students for 6th grade in 2017-18. Over thirty students in one class are too many for teachers to educate our students effectively.

Our kids won’t get the individual attention they need and deserve! While I have been told by our principal that these numbers will go up and down until school starts in the fall, and will continue to go up and down during the school year, starting at more than 30 students in a classroom is unacceptable.

Your child’s class could very well be in the same situation. I urge you to ask your principal about class size projections for your school so that you can be informed and so that concerned parents can work together for smaller class sizes for our kids!

Our district needs to focus resources on keeping classes at reasonable sizes and providing the resources necessary to educate all students, instead of hiring more positions for the district office which do not directly impact students. Parents at Mountlake Terrace Elementary have been emailing the Edmonds School District about the projected size of 6th grades classes for next year. Justin Irish, the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary School, in responding to MTE parent letters said that the district and our principal “always keep students’ safety and learning at the forefront of decision making.”

Later in the letter, he goes on to say, “Additionally, as you may be aware, the State Legislature has not adopted a budget. Our funding for the 2017-18 school year has not been finalized. It is far too early for any final decision to be made at any school across the District, including Mountlake Terrace Elementary.” That last line gives me hope. Parents are doing the right thing by emailing Justin Irish. We need to continue emailing the decision makers in the District.

Overcrowded classes, even with extra paraeducators to provide extra help in the class, are not what is best for our kids. Large class sizes might be acceptable for the district and state, but it is unacceptable for our students. We need to tell ESD that we care about class sizes in our schools. Washington State is required to fully fund our public schools during this legislative session. We need to make sure the district knows we expect them to spend those funds on classroom teachers and the other staff who support our kids like librarians, counselors and nurses so that our kids get the education and support they deserve.

ESD students need parents from every school, every grade level and every part of the community to write the district and demand that they lower our class sizes. This is a problem for our entire district. Parents and members of the Edmonds School District community have the power to positively impact our children’s’ learning experience. I feel we have more power than teachers and leaders at our children’s schools because we are the voters who elect school board members and pass local levies.

I have created a website to make it easy for parents and members of our community to voice similar concerns. Please visit my website and share it with other parents and members of our community.

Brandy Houllahan

11 Replies to “Letter to the Editor: We need smaller class sizes in our schools”

  1. welcome to the great – free market economy!

    on the bottom, schools have been trying to get more funding for the past few decades, i believe

    competing against all the rest of the masses, and don’t forget the city of edmonds, wanting money for the bridge over the train tracks

    meanwhile, the major corporations always want less taxes and a few years back, i hear Paul Allen spent a few million to help defeat the income tax


  2. Thank you so much for speaking out about this problem!! I am a public elementary teacher who grew up and was educated in Edmonds, but I teach in a different district up north, and I can tell you that this is definitely a problem that stems from the state level with the legislature continuing to fail to pass a budget that lives up to the McCleary promise. My district is also looking at larger class size projections and laying off teachers and classified staff. I would highly encourage anyone reading who cares about education to call not only your district superintendent, but also to call your state representatives, and to respectfully, but with urgency, pressure them to figure out the promised funding that would reduce class sizes. Thank you again for writing about this!


  3. Dear Editor: To the people that run the Edmonds 4th. of July parade….
    I love Edmonds! But…enough is enough. Political views as well as your preference of live style, and your view of gun control is no place for a 4th. of July parade. As far as flags go only one should fly in a Forth of July parade. You guessed it, American flag and all it’s glory. L.G.B.T people, we get it your gay. We don’t need your signage, or a flag to prove it. Get over yourselves. Believe it or not people have excepted you, so move on. And we don’t need to see your Political views about a Trump wall. Can’t everyone be more creative and entertain the crowd with music, costumes, marching bands, clowns, etc. Isn’t that what a Parade is ? It’s not a march, it’s a parade. If I was to apply for a, All white straight coffee loving people permit I wonder how far I would get. But if I had a flag to fly it would look kind of silly wouldn’t it? But as my right as an American citizen I could do so. Please! The committee that over sees the next 4th. of July Parade, let’s take away the flags, signs, and any other thing that takes away from the massage that our country has tried to maintain, and make it only a Fourth of July Parade.
    Thank You


  4. Mr Lovgren – This was definitely posted under the wrong story, but worth commenting on. The 4th of July observes the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. If you take the time and refer back, please consider: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”, and that the 4th of July parade here in Edmonds celebrates those rights. Equality, happiness, inclusion, pride – several of the many things that make our community and our country so special. Kudos to all the groups who took part this year – hope to see you all in 2018.


  5. Charlotte: You can celebrate all of the above, just do it under one American flag. So leave the other flags out of a 4th. of July Parade. That’s all very simple if you ask me. Would you let me walk in the parade as a group of White heterosexual male proud men with a flag? Not the American flag but our own flag representing our diversity? I’m not saying take away your pursuit of happiness I’m saying we get that your gay. You don’t need to walk in a parade and proclaim it. The gay parade was on Capitol Hill a few weeks back. That’s great! I just can’t sit and clap for you just because your gay. If that is the pursuit you choose good for you and I will respect you as a human being. You can carry an American flag just like everyone else because,( news flash), you are like everyone else.


  6. Carl: For the record, I personally am not gay. And homosexuality is not a “preference” or “life style”. It’s silly to lump all Americans into one category, under one flag, and one flag only. Are we all Americans? Sure, but what we have in common might stop there and diversity should be celebrated.

    People who participate in parades use flags because they are symbolic, and easily convey messages and meaning, particularly when verbal communication isn’t an option or to show support for your country, a cause, a sports team, a religion, political leanings…the list goes on and on.

    As a white, heterosexual male, you wouldn’t need to have a special flag made representing your “diversity” because the very basic rights you have enjoyed so freely your entire life have NOT been available to minorities. Think voting, marriage, equal pay, etc, etc. And maybe to them, another flag resonates. That’s what independence means, “freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.” There’s room for everyone here in Edmonds, and in the US, for more than one flag.


    1. Yes and there will be more room at the parade next year for the viewers because after 20 years I quit.


      1. Being LGBT is not a “pursuit you choose” any more than being heterosexual is a “pursuit you choose.” I’m sorry you had such a bad time – really! – but if a very small number of LGBT people celebrate the freedom to be who they are in Edmonds and in our country, I wonder if you are not perhaps over-reacting? I’ve lived here for 51 years and find it encouraging that after many, many years of fear, some of us are now able to celebrate who we really are as free LGBT Americans who are proud of our country! I hope you come back next year, have a much better experience (Edmonds Council and PD : please give some planning time to these problems), and can allow a small number to celebrate their own freedoms!


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