Overcrowded? Typical Class Size in Detroit is 22 Kids

Despite some reports, median class is smaller post-bailout

Students sing in a class at John R. King Academics and Performing Arts Academy in the Detroit school district. Photo from Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Despite media reports that students in new Detroit public school district are facing overcrowded classrooms, the median size class is 22 students, according to information provided by the district.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the newly formed Detroit Public Schools Community District released information on 7,325 classes spanning the district. Just 152 of those classes, or 2 percent, had 40 or more students, and among the exceptions were music, gym and health classes.

The largest class in the new district was a “team sports” class that had 86 students at Cass Tech. An English class, two math classes and a science class at Henderson Academy all had 49 students, the district’s highest for all three subjects.

Detroit Public Schools Community District spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson didn’t return an email seeking comment.

Class size data acquired by Michigan Capitol Confidential in 2015 showed that Detroit Public Schools had a median class size of 24 students, but 562 classes (4.8 percent) had 40 or more students.

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The state of Michigan doesn’t track classroom size. The state reported in 2015-16 that the ratio of students to teachers was 23:1. But that’s not the same as class size.

Michigan Radio did a survey in December of 2015 asking teachers to report the number of students in their classes. It received 680 responses and reported the average class size in the state was 27 students.

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