|Wendy Lecker, Education Law Center|
Followed by a proposed class size reso authored mainly by Arthur Goldstein (NYC Educator) with input from James Eterno, myself and we ran it by Leonie Haimson. We were rushed and never put it before MORE steering committee so for now it is being handled by the 4 of us from Another View DA newsletter which is being published for the DA this week.
Resolution on Class Size Reduction
By Arthur Goldstein, James Eterno, Norm Scott
• Whereas, the UFT contract has not changed class size limits in fifty years;
• Whereas reducing class size has proven to be one of the best ways to improve student learning, lower teacher attrition rates and disciplinary problems, and narrow achievement and opportunity gaps between racial and economic groups;
• Whereas NYC schools continue to have the largest average class sizes in the state, and NY’s highest court said that our class sizes were too large in our schools to provide students with their constitutional right to a sound basic education;
• Whereas, UFT contractual class size limits continue to be ignored by the DOE;
• Whereas, the DOE uses outlandish “action plans” to address these limits;
• Whereas, the NYC DOE recently reported class sizes have continued to increase this year;
• Whereas, Article 8L in the 2005 Contract called in part for a labor-management committee to discuss lowering class size if Campaign for Fiscal Equity Settlement funding was available;
• Whereas, the 2007 Contracts for Excellence (C4E) law, which settled the CFE case, required NYC to reduce class size in all grades;
• Whereas, the goals for class size in the city’s original C4E plan, approved by the state in the fall of 2007, are for an average of no more than 20 students per class in K-3, 23 in grades 4-8 and 25 in high school core classes;
• Whereas, the Department of Education has flouted this law flagrantly since 2007;
• Whereas, the DOE gets C4E funding that is often not used to reduce class size; be it therefore
• Resolved, that the UFT will make lowering class sizes to the C4E limits of 20 students in a class K-3, 23 in Grades 4-8 and 25 in high school core classes a major collective bargaining goal for the next contract; and be it further
• Resolved, that funding for this class size reduction should not in any way affect monies for contractual raises for UFT members as the DOE is already receiving C4E money to reduce class sizes from the state.
For decades the DOE has ignored class size, especially Carmen Farina who has disparaged the issue, claiming extensive Professional Development was more important. (How much does PD cost?) Unfortunately the leadership has gone along and removed class size from the negotiating table, claiming doing so will cost us raises. In fact every expense on schools other than salary can be viewed as coming out of potential salary. Even the parental leave issue. Yet the salary pattern is seemingly set outside negotiations. It is time to stop letting the leadership use excuses not to address the growing class size issue in contract negotiations.
See the Class Size Matters Workshop video on the C4E case at https:/vimeo.com/253376916