Sunday, August 28, 2011

Class Size and the UFT Followup: Historical Context

Loretta Prisco who was part of our activist group in the 70s fleshed out yesterday's post on class size.

Do you remember many years ago when the UFT was trying to negotiate that we be paid per kid?  I remember sitting at the DA and some guy saying "break down the wall, I'll take all they  they can shove in" - but it have must have been a Unity guy.  Most of us were appalled. I remember Gene saying "why not by weight?"
When we raised class size when talking about the contract at DAs, Shanker usually had one of 2 replies, "that is an education issue, not  a contract issue"  or "there is either money for class size or salaries, if we reduce class size, there won't be money for a raise".  I remember so clearly, because it is when I first realized that working conditions are learning conditions.  Teaching was tough, I would have rather been a successful teacher with smaller class size than one with a few extra bucks in my pocket. 
My daughter was at Vanderbilt in Nashville in the 90's and I remember reading about the Tennessee Star Study on class size in the local paper.  When I raised the issue here, no one had heard about it, and the response locally was "it is only one study" .


1 comment:

  1. More important but thornier to remedy than class size is the gross disparity in skills levels among students in the upper grades and HS plus the attendant behavioral issues. This is due in part to class size issues but it also redounds to DoE policy failure, system failure, parental neglect and abuse of the system, and probably to some small degree ill-placed and/or equipped teachers (though most of that is a thing of the past). When a child or two with 2nd-grade skills in math and English is placed in an 11th grade class, it is as if the class size has increased by a dozen and the prep time for that class doubled.


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