Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A great holiday present for our kids, and please help us help you!

There’s great news today, and a holiday present for NYC public schoolchildren! Yesterday, the NY State Supreme Court rejected the city’s attempt to lease half of the sports fields on Randall’s Island to twenty private schools for the next twenty years, without first going through the mandated process, including review by the local Community Board and City Council.

Class Size Matters helped organize this lawsuit in 2006, when the city decided to unilaterally grant two thirds of these fields to the private schools, and this is the second time in two years that the court ruled in our favor. Yesterday, we were rewarded with a slam dunk decision, in which Judge Marilyn Shafer said that the city's arguments were “inherently incredible,” and ordered the city to pay court costs and fees to our (pro bono) attorneys, because of their attempt to evade the earlier ruling. (The decision is posted here; see also the Daily News, Times , NY Post and WNYC.)

The court ruling caps an eventful year for Class Size Matters, in which we’ve been busy advocating for all NYC students to be provided with smaller classes and a better opportunity to learn. We led the “Build Schools, not Prisons” campaign to alleviate school overcrowding, and recently the city added 5,000 seats to the capital plan. We co-authored a report on the growing numbers of students discharged from our schools but not counted as dropouts. We published a book on the Bloomberg-Klein educational record that received attention as far away as Australia and Thailand.

We helped form the Parent Commission to advocate for a better school governance law with more real parental input, and together with other public school parents, created NYC Kids Pac, to support candidates who will work for positive change in our schools.

We continue to offer news and information to parents through our two list servs, contribute to and manage the NYC public school parent blog, and also started a column on the Huffington Post. Finally, as mentioned above, we just a won a major case that will hopefully ensure the right of all NYC students to have equal access to the sports fields on Randall’s Island for years to come. Just some of our nearly 100 press clips from the past year are posted on our website.

Please be a part of this effort by contributing what you can. We rely on your financial support. Just click here, or on the link below to give a tax-deductible donation.

Anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a free copy of our acclaimed book, NYC Schools under Bloomberg and Klein, what Parents, Teachers and Policymakers Need to Know, with essays by Diane Ravitch, Debbie Meier, Steve Koss, Patrick Sullivan, and others.

Help us achieve our goal: that the city will finally fulfill its obligation to provide all public school children with smaller classes, a quality education, and a better chance to learn.

Please make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

Happy holidays and a happy New Year,
Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters

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