It’s been something of a banner year for Class Size Matters, as we helped get a new law passed that will obligate NYC schools to lower class size in all grades, to be phased-in starting next fall.
This has been our top priority since we launched our organization over twenty years ago, and we truly believe this one reform will have a hugely beneficial impact on students and truly transformative impact on our schools.
But our work is far from done, and we need your help to make sure that the city actually complies with the new law. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our organization, to help make sure the DOE follows through.
1. On Sunday, Chancellor Banks was interviewed by CBS reporter Marcia Kramer, and said that in order to achieve the smaller classes required by the new law, the DOE will have to build “dozens of new schools.” And yet the DOE and the School Construction Authority have cut over 11,000 school seats and more than $1.6 billion from new capacity since Mayor Adams took office. In their latest proposed amendment to the capital plan, they have also moved nearly 6,000 seats into the category of funded for design only.
The Chancellor also continues to co-locate charter schools in existing school buildings, and five new Success Academy co-locations are planned for next fall – with apparently no thought of reserving sufficient space for the existing public schools inside those buildings to lower class size.
We will need to keep pushing the Mayor and the Chancellor to ensure that the DOE has an effective and equitable plan to lower class size, with enough space and staffing, and an end to charter school co-locations -- so that smaller classes become a reality in all schools. But we cannot do this without your help, and the resources to make this happen. Please make a contribution to Class Size Matters now.
2. The agenda for last month’s PEP meeting included a vote on a non-competitive contract for McGraw Hill amounting to $32M for textbooks with no discount from list price, and a 7% charge for shipping and handling. When I read the proposal Sunday night, I was outraged about the lack of any discount especially given that it was such a huge order, and started tweeting about this, pointing out that the DOE likely could have gotten a better deal from Amazon. Many others chimed in. At the PEP Contract committee meeting the following day, there was a discussion about this proposal, with pointed questions from several non-mayoral appointees. The DOE’s chief procurement officer admitted that the price “doesn’t make sense.” The Daily News published an article about the ensuring controversy, and the contract vote was pulled off the agenda.
Class Size Matters is also one of very few organizations that monitors and critiques DOE’s wasteful spending on contracts, consultants and bureaucracy. We were also one of very few organizations that early on, drew attention to the fierce budget cuts to schools this year. If you want us to continue this sort of consistent oversight and advocacy, please give today.Happy and healthy holidays to all !