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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Welcome back, updated info on class size and other events happening next week

Dear parents: I hope your child had a good first day of classes today; or if you decided to sit it out today, starting next week.

1. I have posted an updated fact sheet with information about the city’s class size limits and goals, our class size lawsuit, and what you can do if your child’s class is too large.

Please also get in touch and let me know what your child’s class size is, as well as the grade level and school. This is critical information. The best way to find out is to count the class roster or ask your child’s teacher or parent coordinator.

2. Unfortunately, we anticipate class sizes larger than ever this year due to sharp budget cuts, the loss of 2,000 teaching positions, and a growth in enrollment of over 18,000 students. This, despite $200 million in funds that the city received from the federal government to prevent class size increases, which the DOE is refusing to spend this year, and 1700 teachers who remain on absent teacher reserve, who Klein refuses to allow principals to hire without having to pay for them out of their miniscule budgets, despite the fact that the city is already covering their full--time salaries.

Not to mention the nearly $1 billion in state funds the city has received in exchange for a promise to reduce class size, a promise that has been broken. More on this issue in the above fact sheet and on our blog.

3.On Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 12:30 PM I will be debating Shael Suransky, Deputy Chancellor and head of DOE’s Accountability office at NY Law School, 185 West Broadway; map here, on the failures of NCLB and other test-based accountability systems. To RSVP, just email Please come if you can!

The bursting of the state test score bubble in July revealed that there has been little progress in city schools over the last eight years, with more than 300 schools where at least two-thirds of students are not meeting state standards and where at least 20% of them are scoring at Level one. There has been no narrowing of the achievement gap in any grade or subject, according to the national exams known as the NAEPs, and even during the era of state test score inflation, there were neighborhoods where one in five students had been held back two or more times, as revealed in today’s Daily News. (Click on the map to the right.)

And yet the city has no plans to address this tragic situation except more of the same: more testing, more “data analysis” of test scores, and more holding back kids.

5. Finally, please join Class Size Matters, CEJ, and other groups on Thursday Sept. 16 at 11 AM, in front of Tweed at 52 Chambers St., to demand smaller classes and other necessary improvements to our schools, for the sake of our children. Hope to see you there!

And remember to let me know at what the class sizes at your children’s school are this year. Even though Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg do not care, I surely do!

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