Friday, July 07, 2017
I Support Lower Class Sizes And A Certified Teacher In The Subject Area Being Taught.
I'm glad to see that a group of parents, along with Class Size Matters, Alliance Of Quality Education and Public Advocate Letitcia James has filed a complaint that the DOE is violating the 2007 CFE agreement that was supposed to reduce class sizes. The DOE, rather than reduce class sizes, actually saw trhem increase since 2007. Despite Mayor elect Bill de Blasio's campaign promise to reduce class size in the New York City Public Schools, his appointed Chancellor, Carmen Farina, actually allowed class sizes to increase, especially in K-3 grades which has increased an astounding 15%!
Part and parcel with the highest class sizes in New York State is the DOE's tact approval to allow schools to use teachers not certified in the subject their assigned to instruct students in. This is especially true in the Middle Schools and in Earth Science, a Regents course in both Middle and High School. If parents knew that uncertified teachers were instructing their students, especially in a Regents subject, they would be up in arms and claiming educational neglect. In addition, most schools, to save on hiring Science teachers, have gone to an educationally inferior 4-1 program when the Regents is based upon a 5-1 program. The result is a lowering of Regents scores for schools who have a 4-1 program. How is that good for students? Its not of course.
Finally, how many ICT classes fail to have a certified Special Education teacher as a co-teacher? Far too many I'm afraid. Moreover, how many limit the ICT classes to 12 or less students with IEPs and are they capable of handling a large class? Further, are these students getting the professional support they are entitled too? My experience tells me that many of the Special Education students are underserved and some, with more severe disabilities, need to be in a self-contained environment and not large class settings where they struggle mightily to academically survive..
Now it seems that inexplicably, school budgets have been reduced from 92% of their fair funding to 90% as the DOE failed to account for rising staff salaries and blame the already tight budget and the further reductions on the union contract and not on their bloated Bureaucracy. Expect class sizes to be at contract maximums, teachers pushed to teach a "sixth class", and pressure to remove veteran teachers from the school's payroll by filing 3020-a charges or harassing them into retirement. Furthermore, look for shady administrators to cut corners by not providing services to Special Education students and using inexpensive and uncertified "newbies" to teach the most needy of students. Instead of solving these problems, expect it to continue until the Mayor removes Chancellor Carmen Farina and her Bloomberg era policymakers and selects a leader who puts education first.