Every year since 2007, NYC parents have voted smaller classes their #1 priority, according to the Department of Education’s own annual surveys. In addition, the state passed a law in 2007 called the Contracts for Excellence (C4E), requiring that NYC reduce class size in all grades, in return for receiving additional state aid. Yet class sizes have increased every single year since then.
This year, the DOE has posted its proposed C4E plan in February for public comment. The deadline for public comment is March 18. Please send in your comment today, with a copy to John King, the State Education Commissioner. A sample message is below; feel free to change it any way you like. You can check out our 20 Questions to DOE, about their lack of accountability in this area.
We will be presenting at several Community Education Council meetings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, starting tomorrow in Baruch Middle School on 330 East 21st St., where we will be giving presentations on C4E and class size, and if there is time, speaking briefly about new threats to student privacy. If you are interested please come, more info about when and where is posted here.
The DOE has failed NYC children in many ways but in no way more disappointing than in its failure to live up to its legal and ethical commitments to reduce class size.
As a parent of a child in a NYC public school, it is unacceptable to me:
· That NYC public school students continue to be subjected to the largest class sizes in the state;
· That they have been deprived of their constitutional right to an adequate education because of their excessive class sizes, according to the state’s highest court;
· That class sizes have risen every year for the last five, and are now the largest in 14 years in the early grades;
· That DOE continues in its latest C4E proposal to do nothing to reduce class sizes despite a law passed in 2007, requiring them to lower class size;
· That DOE has never allocated a single penny of the more than $500 million in annual C4E funds to district-wide or targeted programs to reduce class size;
· That many of the DOE policies have in fact encouraged INCREASES in class size, including but not limited to the following:
· Cutting school budgets by 14% since 2008, despite increases in overall education spending and in many other areas;
· Eliminating the early grade class size funding in 2010, despite a promise to the state to keep the program intact;
· Stopping capping class size in grades 1-3 in 2011 to 28 students per class;
· Demanding that special needs children be accommodated in general education and inclusion classes at maximum contractual levels, despite the fact that these students need smaller classes most of all;
· Refusing to align either its school utilization formula or capital plan with class size reduction goals;
· Continuing to co-locate new schools in school buildings, taking up every possible inch of space and depriving schools of the ability to lower class size in the future:
· Holding meetings in February and March for the current year’s C4E proposal, and refusing to hold borough hearings, making a mockery of the public process required by the law.
You have utterly failed in your responsibilities to my child as well as 1.1 million other NYC students, who have been deprived of a quality education because of your continued negligence.
Name, school, borough