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Class Size Reduction, Teacher Quality, and Academic Achievement in California Public Elementary Schools

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In 1996, California passed a statewide class size reduction (CSR) law that aimed to reduce average class sizes in kindergarten through third grade by roughly one-third. Educators and policymakers expected CSR to lead to large gains in student achievement. However, increasing the state's teaching workforce by thousands of new teachers had the potential to offset the direct benefits of smaller classes, particularly for schools in economically disadvantaged communities that already had staffing difficulties.