Elizabeth Green of Gotham Schools reports that the UFT has signed onto a letter, drafted by Time out from Testing and the Center for Immigrant Families, calling for a hiring freeze at Tweed, and cuts to the Leadership Academy and the Accountability office to save about $60 million a year -- before any of the millions in proposed mid-year cuts to school budgets should be contemplated.
This letter was also signed onto by Class Size Matters, the Working Families Party and others. As she notes,
On the chopping board would be the annual letter-grade progress reports for schools; the quality reviews that supplement the test-driven progress reports with observed details; all standardized tests for children between kindergarten and second grade; the Leadership Academy, the nonprofit organization that trains principals; the periodic assessments that are supposed to help teachers prepare students for state tests; and ARIS, the data warehousing program contracted to IBM that has so far been a flop.
That’s not the entire Joel Klein agenda. But it’s a lot.
"Thus far, we’ve identified at least $150 million in specific, non-classroom cuts to the Department of Education budget. These include a range of cuts from slowing the pace of school restructuring, to scaling back employee recruitment contracts.
There are scores of pilots, new initiatives, and program expansions in the Department that may be well intentioned -- but -- that in this climate, are luxuries that we just can’t afford.
Just one example is the $13 million “Data Inquiry Teams.” Let me read you the DOE’s official description of this program: “The Inquiry Team process is geared to assist schools in data-driven decision-making by integrating the components of the Accountability Initiative into the life of the school.” DOE gives every school eight to ten thousand dollars a year for this.
We think that this is asking principals and their teams to review and analyze student progress and class-work, isn’t that what a school and its staff is supposed to do anyway.
That’s $13 million annually that we could cut -- to keep $13 million in the classroom.
Add your suggestions for cuts in the comments section!