Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Send in your comments on the DOE's Contracts for Excellence plan by Friday 5 PM!

The deadline for comments on the NYC’s Contracts for Excellence plan (or non-plan) is this Friday, October 18 at 5:00 PM.   We have a sample letter you can use with plenty of bullet points about all the violations of law in the public process and deplorable results in terms of class size below; but the reality is that since the court made its decision in the CFE case that NYC children were deprived of their constitutional right to an adequate education in large part because of excessive class sizes, class sizes have instead INCREASED each year in every grade in the city’s schools.

In grades K-3, class sizes are now the largest in 14 years, and the C4E plan that the city has submitted will do nothing to address this critical problem, which is the top priority of NYC parents according to the DOE's own surveys.  Please be sure to send in your comments before the deadline at 5 PM Friday to  and   

And feel free to adapt or change  in any way you'd like!

Sample letter to send on DOE’s proposed 2013-2014 C4E plan
Please send by 5 PM, Friday Oct. 18, 2013!

I am a parent of a x grader at x school.  My child’s class size is x this year.  This is unacceptable to me, and it should be unacceptable to the NYC Department of Education and the NY State Education Department. 
In the CFE decision, the state’s highest court said that NYC children were unfairly denied their constitutional right to an adequate education, in large part because of excessive class sizes.  And yet since that decision, class sizes have increased each year.  This is contrary to the intent of the Contract for Excellence law passed in 2007 that mandated that NYC measurably reduce class size each year to attain specific annual targets and five-year goals.    To this day, DOE officials have refused to allocate a single penny of the more than $500 million they are awarded each year in state C4E funds towards reducing class size, in their targeted allocations to schools or district wide initiatives.
The DOE has refused to  hold borough hearings since 2008, as the law requires, and the state has set a timetable for public comment months after the C4E funds have already been allocated to schools and mostly spent, making a mockery of the public input and accountability procedures set out in the law.  The DOE also eliminated its early grade class size funding program, even though they promised to retain it as part of their original C4E plan.
This year’s “pre-approved” class size reduction plan requires only that in 75 schools out of more than 1500, class size should not increase more than half of the amount class sizes increase citywide. By no definition and by no reasonable standard does this constitute a class size reduction plan, and by no means will it lead to “measurable progress” in lowering class size.  Moreover, even in these 75 schools, DOE has given them no support or extra resources to lower class size; many of them are already being phased out, and others have other schools co-located in their buildings, which will deprive them of the space needed to reduce class size.
Class size reduction one of only four reforms cited by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the US Department of Education, as proven to work through rigorous evidence.  The benefits are especially large for disadvantaged & minority students. Eighty six percent of NYC principals say cannot provide a quality education because of excessive class sizes, and smaller classes have been the top priority of parents on DOE’s learning environment surveys every year.
I urge you to listen to parents, school administrators, and research,  and also heed the law, by amending the city’s plan so that it includes “measurable progress” in class size reduction citywide, so that someday soon, NYC students may receive  their right to an adequate education.
Name, school, district

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