Teachers rally, testify before lawmakers about class sizes

Marco Villarreal

Teachers rally, testify before lawmakers about class sizes

CREATED Mar. 23, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Hundreds of teachers in Clark County and across the state gathered Saturday to discuss a growing problem before lawmakers.

It was odd to have a hearing on a Saturday since most of the time government does not work on weekends, but a legislative committee did this in order to ensure teachers could make it with out missing class. The size of their classrooms was the focus of the hearing.

It was standing room only in two packed rooms at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas and up in Carson City. It's a hearing with the Joint Meeting of the Senate Committee on Finance and Assembly Committee on Ways & Means. The focus is education in Nevada. 

"We need to get the word out and understand that education in Nevada has been under a lot of stress for the last, particularly the last ten years," says Jeremy Christensen, a math teacher.

While the list of things to fix is long the focus Saturday is on class sizes.

"How many adults can say they've been in a room full of 40 children by themselves. You see a parent with two kids at the store freaking out trying to control their two kids, we 've got 40 of other people's kids trying to teach them. A lot of times trying to teach them something they're not that interested in like math, and it's hard," says Christensen.

Testifying in front of legislators are teachers, superintendents, and students.

"When you have a lot of questions is the teacher able to answer all your questions?
Usually not always because a lot of people have a lot of questions and she can't get around to everybody in the amount of time they have in school," says Zac Christensen, a fourth grader.

What's unusual says the teacher's union about this hearing is that it's happening long before the economic forum meets in a month and a half.  

"I think first and foremost is the funding. Without the funding you can't even address the number of teachers, or the classrooms, or what kind of materials are necessary," says Ruben Murillo President of the Clark County Education Association.

Educators hope funding will ultimately lead to a better education for students.

"You feel the moral of everyone around you just...everything is dragging. It's tough. You get in there to the classroom and try to do your job and there's more kids and it's hard to get through to them," says Jeremy.

The teachers union says the next step from here is to put pressure on lawmakers to make sure they get the funding they need to alleviate class sizes.