Some experts say there's little evidence to support the theory that smaller class sizes determine academic success, with some saying modest increases in class size should not make a significant difference -- particularly among older students. But educators say larger class sizes and reductions in support staff make it difficult to help individual students who are struggling or who have special needs. "It will be much more difficult to differentiate learning in a classroom," one Illinois teachers' union leader said of layoffs that could result in class sizes of up to 31 students.

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