Teacher to Student Ratio Laws?????

Updated on August 26, 2013
K.B. asks from Wyoming, MI
14 answers

Hello Mamas :)
My son will be starting Kindergarten in just about two weeks and at his Kindergarten Round-Up we were informed that his am class has 29 children enrolled! That is just too many in my book! Does anyone know what the Michigan State Law is in regards to that issue? Or does anyone know how I can find out? I am thoroughly frustrated by the school thus far in that at his Round-Up, almost all of my questions were not able to be answered. Also, I have e-mailed his teacher as I would like my son to at least meet her before his first day of school (and I would like to meet her as well!) but have yet to receive a response from her! So frustrating! If I don't get a reply from her tomorrow I think I am going to call the school and find out what's going on! Does anyone know what I'm going through? Any advice? Any teachers out there with any suggestions for me? I want this to be a good experience - I want to have a good relationship with my son's teacher, but right now I'm just really frustrated! I appreciate any and all constructive thoughts. Thank you, in advance, for your time!

K. :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

I know how you feel. My daughter is going into K this year. We are not allowed to know who her teacher is, what class room she will be in, how many kids are in her class and are not allowed to meet her teacher until the day school starts. The school told me that the day before school after 3pm, they will send out an e mail saying what classroom is hers and that's where I take her to on the first day of school. They said they are doing it this way this year because of budget cuts.

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answers from Eugene on

You are so frustrated. I know what you are feeling number in my daughter class was 28. The teacher would of never of made it without parent volunteers. The parent would take 5 kids out of the room, work on reading, math per that group level. Leveling the teacher with a size of class better to manage. Calling the school is a good idea, if she isn't answering or getting her emails. You can even ask to talk to the teacher and see if you can just run up to say hi. If she is setting up her classroom it should be easy. You can volunteer in the classroom, help the teacher. Be on her side as well as your sons. It is the same thing. They are in it together for the year. Give it a chance school hasn't started and you already don't like it. Not a good start to the year. You will be looking for everything to go wrong it will. Make it a good experience by solving problems not being one.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I would suggest calling the school to talk to the teacher...many times teachers are unable to even access their computers at beginning of the year due to technology updates/changing email programs/problems with moving classrooms and not having computers set up etc. Even if the email were to be set up the teachers are not expected to check it until school starts. They are usually in non-stop district trainings in the first few days before school so make sure you are flexible in the times you are available to come in your teacher is not as available as she would like to be. But I am sure she would love to meet your kid.

I would go in with a NON-hostile attitude (since you already sound really worked up). You don't want to get off on the wrong foot before school even starts.

I am sure that your sons kinder teacher isn't too thrilled about the student to teacher ratio either!!! No teacher wants to have 29 students in their class (unless of course they have more than 30)

Your childs' teacher has no control over how many students are in a class. If you have a problem with that you should be contacting people in power in state and federal government. Make your voice heard.

BTW your sons teacher might not have even been part of the round-up so don't harbor ill-will against her.

Give her a chance...your chids teacher did not choose to have that many students (by the way she most likely got a pay cut this year so she is working for less money with more work). Most teachers do what they do because it is a calling. They are passionate about it, they are good at it and they are very excited to meet their students.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This may not be in the line of the advice you were looking to hear, but things like this are some of the reasons I chose to homeschool. You sound like a very proactive mom, just like me. You sound like a wonderful advocate for your child, just like me. I truly think that because of this, the public school experience is going to be monumentally frustrating for you, just like it was for me. Halfway through Kindergarten I was already chomping at the bit to homeschool the next year. I probably would have pulled him out then except I was really hoping things would get better. They only got worse. The public school system is more accustomed to parents that just want to fob responsibility off to someone else for the duration of the day and want their child's scholastic pursuits summed up in a half page report card a few times a year. I don't get the impression that you are that kind of mother at all. I'm not saying all public school parents are like that at all. I know many great parents that send their children to public school, but I think the majority of public school parents are nowhere near as proactive about their children's futures as most of the homeschooling parents I know.

Anyways, homeschooling is something to think about if you have the time and inclination. I know it's not for everyone. If you can't homeschool, maybe you should consider a small private or charter school.

I'd also like to say that I realize that every family has different needs and I'm not condemning anyone that sends their children to public schools. I'm merely trying to point out that you sounds just like I did when my oldest son went to Kindergarten and that ultimately I couldn't deal with the school any more and had to make a different decision for my family.

Best of luck to you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Go to the State of Michagan Education website and search student class size. If you do not find an answer, call the information line, or send an email to find out. They will know.

As for the teacher, she has 28 other children coming in the morning, and that probably means that she has more than 50 families to accomodate and plan for. She may be trying to get enough desks for them and find someone to bring them from central storage, and figure out how the old style desk will fit in her little room. She also probably has more meetings than you can shake a stick at about things like the schools best practice, the new email system, how to use the new copier (becasue she is not alowed to touch it until she does,) a seminar on the new IEP forms the district is using...she may have children with special needs and was sent to a conference so that she could be "highly qualified" to teach them; if that was your child, you would be very happy about that, and would be able to sue her if she didn't. You just don't know how full a teachers life is these days. I would be willing to bet that there is nothing that your son's teacher would like more than to be able to meet each and every one of her students such that their experience was good, but it may just be imposible. Being with your son and teaching him is exactly why she went into education.

Many teachers are not even in the classroom untill a day or two before school starts, so it is likely that she has not even accessed her school email, even if that system is up and running like the communications support director promised last spring, because it probably isn't quite right yet.

Try to realize that every parent feels like you do, epspecially if this is your first child. As strongly as you feel, it is not an emergency, and it won't gain you enough to make it worth it to get off on the wrong foot with this very special teacher. That is what kindergarten is, very special, and you should love his teacher as much as he does. If she could respond, she would have already. If she doesn't, assume that she can't and make the day as special as you can for your son without a personal visit with her before hand. It will be OK, either way.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Check your state board of education's website. Here in California they have rules for class limits, but it's cheaper for school districts to pay a penalty on exceeding the limits than to hire more teachers. Sad, but the reality of budgets these days.

I wouldn't get too angry at the teacher for not responding. I guarantee you, he/she is NOT happy having to teach that many kids and is overwhelmed. That is an incredibly large kindergarten. Do you know if there's an aide? If so, that can help a lot. Our district cut aides a long time ago.

I would take your questions to the principal. He/she would be in the best position to discuss staffing levels.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

Hmm, gatta love Michigan schools, er scratch that, schools in America! Cutting back means less teachers = more kids per teacher. You can either put your son in a small private school or homeschool, but those may be the only 2 options of a smaller class size!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

My daughter is a 2nd grade teacher in Oklahoma. She has 28 students this year. Because that is more than the law allows for 1 teacher, she has an aide.

Many states allow for aides in the classroom. They can do anything from running errands to taking over the class for short periods of time. They also may sit with a child and help them when they need a little extra help, or walk around during a lesson to see if the children are "getting it".

I don't how all teachers would feel about this, but a day or two before school started, I would take my kids in to the school with me to meet the teacher if they didn't know them. I would just tell the teacher I was there for us to meet them and to let me know if they needed anything or needed to, because my child's education was important to me and I believed it would work best if we worked together. It didn't take long, I didn't ask for their plans or classroom rules. It was short and sweet. I never got a bad reaction.

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answers from Detroit on

Hello- I teach k- in Oakland county and I don't believe that there is a law regarding this. I have always had between 27-31 kids in my classroom and have had to grieve with the union to get an aide. It is a horrible disservice to the children, but with a good teacher, it will work out. I always thought the contract set the classroom numbers, and everywhere I have worked has gone above the numbers. If it is a good district and teacher, everything will be fine. I always made sure, even if I had to spend my lunches working with them, that I would give them individual time and make sure that they got to know me. The teacher should make an effort to contact you- maybe she hasn't checked her school email yet... is there a school meet and greet or anything? Good luck with the school year!


answers from Lansing on

I think the teacher-student ratio is high for everyone and I think we need to remember that it's usually not the school's fault. I think 29 kids per class is about average right now although, some schools are higher. I also think that having a larger class size isn't always a bad thing. One way to be able to monitor how things are going in your son's classroom is to be a parent volunteer. Most teachers will let you volunteer at least a couple times each week for a few hours.

Like the other moms have said, you do have the option of homeschooling or private school. As a mother of four, I believe a GOOD public school is the best option for kids though. Have you checked into your school of choice options - can you enroll your son in a neighboring school district if that's better for him?

As far as poor communication with your son's school/teacher, that would frustrate me too. We've always had school open houses a few days before school starts and so that's what I'm familiar with.

Good luck!


answers from San Antonio on

I didn't read all responses. I know that here in texas, there IS a classroom size law in grades UNDER 5th grade. I taught 2nd, 3rd, & 5th grade. In 2nd & 3rd, I think the law was 22 kids or less. In Kinder, the law might be different if they have an AIDE. So find that out. BUT by all means, you are the parent. You pay the salary. You have all the right to ask questions and be expected answers. You may not like the answers, but you should get them if asked.

As far as emailing the teacher - keep in mind she is trying to set up a classroom right now. May or may not have her computer turned ON. She may have her own kids in the classroom right now if their school hasn't started yet too. She's got 29 student files to set up or get organized..... she has a lot on her plate. There's probably a good reason she hasn't emailed you back. Depending on the tone of your email, she may be thinking "I don't have time to deal with an onery parent ALREADY!" and might make up an excuse later. Just go to the school and have a SMILE on your face. Apologize if you sounded rude. Explain that you're just a concerned mom who wants the best for her kiddo.

Good luck!



answers from Portland on

When my granddaughter was in Kindergarten 4 years ago there were 27 children in her classroom. The teacher had one aide and a few parent volunteers. That years was my granddaughter's best year in school. She was given a great foundation from that teacher and that aide!

She's had difficulties in subsequent grades because she had difficulty focusing and staying on task but yet every teacher has worked with her to make her education beneficial.

I was amazed when I visited the classroom on Grandparents Day when she was in Kindergarten. She is a girl who is always on the move and when she was 5 she was rarely still. All of the students were standing in a group to sing songs for us. My granddaughter was the only one kneeling on a chair. She stayed in place for the entire 20 or so minutes of the classroom presentation.

This Kindergarten teacher was experienced and knew lots of ways to keep children involved. She never once talked to my daughter about my granddaughter's behavior or constant chatter. Every teacher since has had that discussion with my daughter.

I'm a school volunteer and I'd look in on the classroom from time to time and the children would often be happily sitting and doing quiet work while the teacher would be working at her desk and the aid would be walking around helping individual children.

Your son's experience may be different or even not as good but I hope that you can maintain a positive attitude and help him look forward to his first day. Others have described schools and teacher's limitations and so I won't go into those. I will say, in my experience, that the teachers I've seen and worked with are well trained and dedicated. They do good work in spite of the limitations we put on them.

I say we, because as tax payers, we do have some influence on the school budget. I'm against raising taxes but I always vote for more money for the schools.



answers from Raleigh on

I agree with you that 29 is way too many for kindergarten. I would ask the administration what is the student teacher ratio law for your state. I would also find out how you could become a volunteer in his room. As for as not hearing from the teacher, he/she might be in meetings all day and setting up the room at nights. Give it a day or two and then call the school. I am a certified teacher and the meetings and setting up the room is very time consuming

L. C



answers from Atlanta on

Dear K.....
You need to wait for school to start and meet the teacher if the school has a meet and greet. If a class has 30 students and every parent wants 15 minutes to meet and talk that adds up to a lot of time. The same goes for an email.
You do not need to be buddies with the teacher. You need to trust that the teacher will do his or her job. Teachers do not have time to send 30 personal emails to touch base with every student's family. Your teacher is busy planning the year, setting up the classroom. The last thing that teacher needs is you requiring a personal meeting session.
Do the math....there are only so many minutes in the day. Also, before school starts teachers have meetings and many many many things to do to get ready. Relax and just let it happen the way it supposed to.

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