Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What the Trump budget cuts would do to class size and "priceless moments" in the classroom

Trump would cut $9 billion from education -- while transferring millions of dollars into private hands through the expansion of charter schools and vouchers.  His cuts could imperil NYC class sizes, already far too large.  The biggest proposed cut in education is the total elimination of nearly $2.3 billion of Title IIA funds.  Of those funds, $101 million come to NYC and are exclusively spent on reducing class size in the public schools, paying for the salaries of approximately 1000 classroom teachers. (The DOE spreadsheet is here.)

See below, a video interview with Katie Kurjakovic, a Queens teacher from PS 11,  who explains that the addition of one classroom teacher is able to reduce class size from about 32 to 25 across a grade at her school -- which makes all the difference in the world in being able to provide her ESL kids the attention they need.  She describes the "priceless moment" when she helped one of her 6 year old students learn how to read:

Why do educators make smaller class sizes their top wish?

It’s because of “the moments.” For every child who is added, I lose the ability to give all my students the moments they need with me. These are moments when the important work happens.

These are the moments when I sit next to John, one of my students. We tap out words together every day. Then the day finally arrives when he looks at me with his face shining and says, “I read that by myself!” It clicks, and he never stops reading.

More of the interview is here; and also see Diane Ravitch on the appalling impact of these cuts in an article called "The Demolition of American Education" in this month's NY Review of Books, explaining how, among other things, "The cuts to funds for reducing class sizes will have an immediate negative effect."  

As Ms.Kurjakovic says, "Based on its budget plan, this administration apparently just doesn’t care. But I do care, and so do my fellow teachers, so do their parents — and so does every child who has lost those moments they deserve to huge class sizes."

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