Thursday, September 8, 2011
Please fill out our brief survey on class size and budget cuts now!
I hope your children had a good first day of school.
I have posted a VERY BRIEF survey for you to fill out about class sizes and or other effects of budget cuts at your schools.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, administrator or student, please fill out this survey and forward it to others; it will take only 5 minutes or less. Your name and participation will remain completely confidential unless you choose otherwise, but we need this info badly to see how much and where class sizes have increased this year.
Meanwhile, the mayor’s ratings have slipped sharply, with only 34% approving of his handling of our schools, and 52% disapproving, according to a new NYT poll . The Mayor discounted the poll, saying “In the end, polls don’t matter — it’s what mayors do.”
The top concern of parents in this new poll is class size and overcrowding, just as it is in the DOE’s own surveys. Yet Walcott in an interview discounted the importance of increasing class sizes, saying he expected an average rise of only 1.5 students per class, which he claimed would have little impact on our schools.
Yet this ignores the fact that our class sizes are already above optimal levels, have increased sharply for the last three years in a row, and the research shows that every single student added to a class diminishes learning for the whole.
Walcott also seems unaware or unconcerned with how in individual schools, class size is a discontinuous phenomenon, and likely to increase much more than 1.5 students each time a teaching position is eliminated. This year we believe about 5,000 teaching positions have been lost through attrition, retirement and excessing, while enrollment continues to grow. DOE also plans to lay off over 700 school aides this year; see video from our press conference yesterday.
Instead of helping our kids succeed, Walcott said his top priority this year would be improving public relations and getting his staff on TV.
Above are the UFT contractual caps in each grades, compared to the goals in the city’s C4E plan.