If there is one thing that I have learned in the 30 years of being an educator, it is that before you can successfully teach a child, you must establish and build a positive relationship with them. Without this relationship learning does not happen. The relationship between teachers and their students is critical to student success.

Therefore, when budgets are cut and people lose their jobs and class sizes goes up, the quality of education suffers severely. The success and achievement of students is irreparably harmed.

This is not just my opinion. In the Washington Post in February 2014, a study by a professor at Northwestern University found that: “Class size is an important determinant of student outcomes, and one that can be directly determined by policy. All else being equal, increasing class sizes will harm student outcomes.

“The evidence suggests that increasing class size will harm not only children’s test scores in the short run, but also their long-run human capital formation. Money saved today by increasing class sizes will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the future.

“Why do small classes work? Small classes are linked to higher achievement and include a mixture of higher levels of student engagement, increased time on task, and the opportunity small classes provide for high-quality teachers to better tailor their instruction to the students in the class.”

A quality education is supposed to be the great equalizer. It is supposed to give every child no matter their what background, an equal opportunity. All children should have an equal opportunity to go to college, become a contributor to society, and become a success in their chosen field. Getting a quality education is where it all starts.

John Lisa

teacher/athletic director

Messalonskee Middle School

Oakland