Sunday, October 18, 2009
Hearings on the city's failure to abide by its moral and legal obligations as regards class size
See NY1 on the City Council's hearings about the failure of the Department of Education to spend the state's Contracts for Excellence (C4E) funds according to law. Instead of reducing class size, as mandated, with hundreds of millions of dollars of state funds, class sizes rose last year by the greatest amount in ten years.
DOE has provided lots of excuses for this malfeasance, but no real explanations. This program was created as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, and was supposed to ensure our children would finally be provided with their constitutional right to an adequate education, including smaller classes and more accountability and transparency in spending, but none of this has been achieved. The DOE's chief auditor admitted at the hearings that the audit required by law for the spending of these funds has still not been completed for the 2007-8 school year, no less last year.
Check out my testimony, along with a letter signed by nearly two hundred parent leaders, elected officials and the UFT, urging the State Commissioner to hold off granting the city any more C4E funds until the Department of Education demonstrates that the state funds have been properly used this year -- and that class sizes have actually been reduced.
The DOE's Chief Operating Officer, Photeine Anagnostopoulos, said that given flat funding they intend to renegotiate their class size reduction targets with the state -- of no more than twenty in K-3, 23 in 4-8 and 25 in core academic subjects in high school by the 2011-2012 school year.
See also the Gotham Schools article here. See also this letter that the Community Education Council from District 2 sent to the DOE and Commissioner Steiner about the problems with the DOE's Contracts for Excellence, and the flawed public process this year.