Some important news to report. First the bad news:
1- The House Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to zero out and totally eliminate more than $2 billion in Title II funds, which are used in many schools to reduce class size, keep teachers on staff, and/or improve teacher quality. If the full House and Senate approve this budget it could mean the loss of more than 8,000 teaching positions nationwide, eliminating about 1,000 positions in NYC alone — leading to sharp increases in class size at many schools. Class sizes at most schools are already far too large and have not recovered since the great recession, when thousands of teaching positions were lost. Please send a message to your House member and Senators TODAY, urging them to vote against any cut to Title II funds. You can also check out a video of a NYC teacher talking about what the loss of these class size funds would mean to students at her school.
- In better news, Class Size Matters, along with nine NYC parents, the Public Advocate, and AQE has filed alegal complaintto the NY State Education Department, demanding they enforce the law and require that NYC schools reduce class size. Instead of lowering class size, class sizes have sharply increased since 2007, when the state Contracts for Excellence law was passed. Last year, there were more than 300,000 NYC students squeezed into classes of 30 or more.
It is unconscionable and long overdue that Mayor de Blasio came through on his promises to parents, complied with the law, and provided kids a better chance to learn. More info about the complaint, including a press release with quotes from the parent plaintiffs, is on the blog, and there is a detailed timeline of DOE’s systematic and conscious choices to increase class size on our website. Perhaps the most startling statistic is this: Since 2007, the number of children in grades 1-3 in classes of 30 or more has surged by an incredible 4000%!
Our legal action was reported on in the Daily News: Growing class sizes at city schools break state law and provide ‘second-rate education,’ advocates charge; WNYC Schoolbook: Parents Push NY to Enforce Smaller Class Size Law, and the Queens Chronicle: Obey the Law, School Parents Tell City DOE. NY1 also has a story today, but there’s no online link yet.
Try to keep cool, please send a message now to Congress NOT to cut Title II funds, and thanks!
Leonie Haimson Executive Director Class Size Matters 124 Waverly Pl. New York, NY 10011 212-529-3539