The main issue under contention is not salary, where the two sides are close together; Superintendent Austin Beutner has offered a 6 percent increase, with the union demanding 6.5 percent.In our wildest imagination, could we see the UFT here in NYC strike over class size? Leonie is on the case.
Even more contentious now is the excessive class sizes suffered by too many Los Angeles public school students and teachers. The district claims it cannot afford to reduce class size, while the union says there is a budget surplus of over $1.8 billion.... Leonie Haimson
On class size, Los Angeles Unified has an average of 26 students per class. Of the 10 largest school districts in California, only one has a smaller average class size than Los Angeles.
At my high school, for example, we have over 30 academic classes with 41 or more students, including nine English/writing classes as many as 49 students, and three AP classes with 46 or more students. One English teacher has well over 206 students — 41+ per class. A US Government teacher has 52 students in his AP government class. Writing is a key component of both classes — the sizes make it is impossible for these teachers to properly review and help students with their essays.
On June 18, 2013, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) School Board voted for a resolution that directed their “Superintendent to examine the feasibility of implementing class-size reduction for the 2014-15 academic calendar and to develop a long term, class-size reduction strategy that will yield positive academic results.” In the over five years that have passed since the resolution should have been implemented, the District has had four different Superintendents. The class size ratio has remained exactly the same.
I agree with the Union argument that lower class sizes are one of the best predictors of successful teaching and student success. I also agree that lowering class size may be one of the keys to increasing ADA [average daily attendance], and maintaining and recruiting students to LAUSD, which remains a joint goal of the parties.
As a parent, would you rather have your child in a class of 26 students with a highly effective teacher or a class of 22 with a less than effective teacher?
This is one of the unspoken reasons why the CCSA [California Charter School Association]-backed school board refuses to consider getting rid of Section 1.5; it would make life tougher for their partners in Prop. 39 co-locations. And if we can’t change Prop. 39 through our contract, we can at least make sure our contract doesn’t aid and abet Prop. 39 invasions.