Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared that all kids are in classes by themselves, and that class sizes are, therefore, now as low as they can possibly be--one student per class. The trick now, Mr. Bloomberg suggested, was to get teachers to utilize differentiated instruction for each class, so that no students would be left behind. To accomplish this class size revolution, the mayor enlisted the assistance of UFT President Randi Weingarten, who was all too happy to accomodate.
"This is a banner day for city teachers," declared Ms. Weingarten. "We've now got a historic agreement to keep class size down to one, and what's more, we've procured a one-time bonus payment of five hundred dollars for city teachers."
Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Weingarten explained that teachers would now be in charge of 200 classes a day, and, due to time constraints, would now be teaching 40 classes at a time. In addition, teachers would continue "small group instruction" four times a week. As there are no longer "groups" the instruction would consist of only 34 classes at a time.
In addition to the five-hundred dollar one-time bonus, Ms. Weingarten was able to negotiate zero-percent raises for teachers, to be paid over a three-year period. Union sources stated this was a great victory, as Mayor Bloomberg had initially demanded a twenty percent pay cut.