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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

City’s rejection of class size recommendations of the DOE working group betrays top priority of parents and de Blasio campaign promises



Last week, the DOE released the results of the parent survey, with the key question eliminated that showed class size reduction the top priority of parents eight years in a row.  Adding insult to injury, today the DOE revealed that they were rejecting the recommendations of the Blue Book Working group, appointed by the Chancellor,  to incorporate smaller classes into the school utilization formula.  Here is our press release, with comments from attorney Wendy Lecker of the Education Law Center..

For immediate release: July 28, 2015
Contact:  Leonie Haimson, leoniehaimson@gmail.com; 917-435-9329
Wendy Lecker, wlecker@edlawcenter.org , 203 - 536-7567

City’s rejection of class size recommendations of the DOE working group betrays top priority of parents and de Blasio campaign promises

Said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters, “It is deeply distressing that today, the Department of Education revealed it would reject the recommendations of the Blue Book Working Group, including parents, advocates and DOE officials appointed by the Chancellor, to improve the school overcrowding estimates by incorporating smaller classes in the school utilization formula.”

Class size reduction has been the top priority of parents every year since 2007, according to the DOE’s own surveys, and Bill de Blasio promised during his campaign to reform the Blue Book “so it incorporates the need for smaller classes.”  (See his completed NYC KidsPac candidate survey at http://tinyurl.com/p9qj5hs )

Added Haimson, “De Blasio also promised that if elected, he would reduce class size to the levels set out in the city’s original Contracts for Excellence plan.  This plan involved average class sizes no larger than 20 students per class in grades K-3, 23 students in grades 4-8, and 25 students in high school.  The city’s rejection of the recommendations of the DOE’s own working group to incorporate these class size goals in the Blue Book is thus a betrayal of that commitment, as well as a refusal to be responsive to the top priority of parents and what research shows works to help kids learn. “

As Wendy Lecker, Senior Attorney for the Education Law Center pointed out, “In Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State (CFE), New York's highest court found that large class sizes in New York City schools played a major role in depriving schoolchildren of their constitutional right to a sound basic education.  Both the Contract for Excellence (C4E) law, passed in response to CFE, and the regulations promulgated under that law, provide specific mandates for reduction of class size in New York City. “ 

“The Blue Book Working Group, recognizing these mandates, recommended the smaller class size standards set forth in New York City's C4E 5 Year Class Size Reduction Plan, as approved by the State in 2007.  Yet, despite these mandates, and despite the fact that class sizes have been steadily rising, the City is choosing not to adopt the class size recommendations of the Blue Book Working Group. Instead, the existing blue book standards will allow for and encourage class sizes to increase even more, in violation of the CFE decision and the requirements of the Contract for Excellence law.”

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1 comment:

James Eterno said...

Thanks for what you do Leonie. We have put this at the ICEUFT blog too.