Sunday, April 11, 2010

Leonie Haimson on Why Class Size Matters

How dare she? Leonie Haimson calls for money used to build and support empty prisons to be shifted to building schools. Outrageous. Doesn't she know that by cutting education severely we can assure that these prisons will be filled eventually?

And then she has the nerve to talk about rising birth rates and how that will force a demand for new space for schools,mentioning along the way that BloomKlein have ignored this fact or shunned any responsibility for not addressing the issue. Doesn't she know "the plan" is to guarantee a drop in the birth rate by creating a massive multi- decade long depression?

What a nerve she has!

Jugheads like Rick Hesse and his ilk disparaged class size as a solution to fixing schools at the Manhattan Institute luncheon for Diane Ravitch's book a few weeks ago. Leonie Haimson was in the audience and I wanted to go up and grab the mic from him and turn it over to her. Here is part one of her excellent presentation at the Class Size Matters parent workshop this past Saturday, which included workshops for parents to fight back against the BloomKlein machine and an amazing panel session with charter school parents, including the former Moaning Mona Davids who if she keeps up these good deeds will be renamed the Magnificent Mona. But more of that video later.

NYC City Councilman Robert Jackson and State Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan were in attendance. See below the video for Leonie's report of the event.

Part 1

Part 2

Our parent conference on Saturday was terrific. Thanks to those of you who came. And thanks to Lisa Donlan of D1, Khem Irby of D 13, Monica Major of D 11, and Shino Tanikawa of D2, who helped put it together.

Cathy Nolan, chair of the Assembly Education committee, was our surprise guest in the morning and spoke briefly about school governance, the importance of parent involvement, and the state budget crunch. Robert Jackson, Chair of the City Council Education committee, talked about improving the capital plan to relieve overcrowding and reduce class size. All the panels and workshops were terrific.

The afternoon panel on building bridges with charter parents, with Mona Davids of the NY Charter Parents Association, Leslie-Ann Byfield, Achievement First charter school parent, Khem Irby of CEC District 13 and Dianne Johnson of CEC District 5, was especially moving and strong. I hope to have video of it soon, as we had two filmmakers in the audience.

Some of the presentations are available online, linked to from the agenda here; our consensus framework of shared principles with charter parents is here and below. The press release about our shared principles is here. My presentation on class size, school overcrowding and what can be done is here.

Though Chancellor Klein and the DOE would like to pit parent against parent, we find have much in common with charter school parents, who want the same things for their children’s schools that all parents do: a quality education with small classes and experienced teachers, more transparency and accountability, and real parent input in decision-making.

  • Speaking of accountability, tomorrow, Monday April 14, at 9:30 AM, legal arguments will be held in our class size lawsuit against DOE’s failure to comply with state law before Justice John Barone, at Bronx County Courthouse; (Grand Concourse and 161st Street).

  • Tuesday April 13 at 7 PM, I will be speaking at a community forum about the US Dept. of Education’s flawed priorities and their misguided blueprint for the reauthorization of NCLB, which if enacted would be devastating for NYC schools. The main speaker is Jo Comerford, Executive Director of National Priorities Project. (For a flyer, click here.)

The consensus document which we developed with the help of the NY Charter Parents Association, as well as other charter and district parents is below. If you have comments, are willing to sign onto it as is, please send me your name, school, and district, or other affiliations if any at

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