Monday, December 19, 2016

Resolution on Class Sizes Rejected by UFT Executive Board.

I have 35 oversized classes in my school, but Unity thinks "the system works," as one person said because it worked for his school. What a disgrace. We support reasonable class sizes, BUT...

WHEREAS, the UFT contractual class size limits have not been reduced for over half a century; and

WHEREAS, since those limits were first negotiated, the benefits of class size reduction have been proven through rigorous evidence to improve student learning, reduce disciplinary problems, boost graduation rates, and lessen teacher attrition; and

WHEREAS, in 2003, NY state’s highest court ruled in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit that NYC public school students were denied their constitutional right to a sound basic education, based in part because their class sizes were too large; and

WHEREAS, to settle the CFE lawsuit, a state law was passed in 2007 called the Contracts for Excellence law that required NYC to reduce class sizes in all grades; and

WHEREAS, instead of lowering class size, class sizes have increased sharply since 2007; and

WHEREAS, according to the Independent Budget Office, we lost nearly 9000 general education K-12 teaching positions between 2007 and 2013; and

WHEREAS, since 2011, the DOE no longer recognizes a “side agreement” with the UFT which had existed for more than a decade to cap class sizes in grades 1-3 at 28, so class sizes have risen to 30 or more in these grades in many schools; and

WHEREAS, on day 6 of the school year this fall, there were over 5000 classes that violated the UFT limits; and

WHEREAS, on day 10, there were still more than 2500 classes that violated the UFT limits, more than the previous year; and

WHEREAS, 1,145 high school classrooms had more students than the contractual limit, up from 803 last year, meaning that their class sizes were 35 or more; and

WHEREAS, even now, there are many classes that violate these limits, with 35 alone in Francis Lewis HS; and

WHEREAS, arbitrators have recently been approving “plans of action” that do not remotely address class size but instead, allow for an extra period for teachers to be exempted from C6 duty, which does not enable us to give students more individual attention; and

WHEREAS, many NYC high school teachers are assigned to six classes, which means that they are responsible for teaching as many as 200 students a semester or more; and

WHEREAS, teachers are evaluated by measures of student learning, and studies show more learning occurs the smaller the class size; and

WHEREAS, New York City already has the largest class sizes in the state; and

WHEREAS, New York City teachers are compared to other teachers elsewhere in the state while our classes are larger, making these comparisons unfair; and

WHEREAS, all students benefit from smaller classes, but especially low-income students, students of color, and English Language Learners, who experience twice the benefit from class size reduction; and

WHEREAS, in a 2014 UFT survey 99 percent of NYC teachers said that reducing class size would be the most effective reform to improve student outcomes – far outstripping any other strategy; and

WHEREAS, many schools are too overcrowded to reduce class size and the current capital plan will fulfill at most 59 percent of the DOE’s own estimate of the need for new school seats, based on existing overcrowding and projected enrollment increases; and

WHEREAS, the current capital plan and school capacity formula is pegged to larger classes in grades 4-12 than exist on average currently and much larger than are optimal; and

WHEREAS, with increased and rapid residential development the city is likely to fall further behind in terms of school capacity, be it therefore;

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers will vigorously enforce existing contractual class size regulations, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers will advocate with the Mayor and the Chancellor to adhere to class size caps of 28 students in grades 1-3, as was done in earlier years; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers will lobby the City Council to create a dedicated funding stream to lower class sizes, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers will not consider reappointment of any arbitrator who allows for violations to persist indefinitely and instead makes irrelevant rulings on class size that do not benefit students or teachers; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will advocate with the Council to appoint a Commission to improve the school planning and siting process, as Class Size Matters and Make the Road have proposed, so that sufficient school space is built along with development and not years afterwards, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will publish lists of oversized classes and arbitrators’ resolutions as a matter of course in NY Teacher, and that UFT will have a standing committee dedicated to monitoring and correcting class size violations citywide.
blog comments powered by Disqus