UFT Elections 2019 – Issues – Class Sizes

Every student deserves necessary attention to achieve growth and be known!

Reduce Class Size and Improve Teacher-Pupil Ratios

In a UFT teacher survey from 2013 – the most recent one publicly available – 99% NYC teachers responded that class size reduction would be an effective reform  to improve NYC schools.  About 90% said that this would be a “very effective” reform – far outstripping any other proposal (Source: NYC Public School Parents).

It is every teacher’s  goal to reach all students and do the best for them. With smaller class sizes and teacher-student ratios, teachers will have a fighting chance to educate every child and improve outcomes in math, literacy, and overall academic growth, truly leaving NO child behind. UFT Solidarity supports, and will fight for, better classroom conditions and outcomes for all children.

The NYCDOE has a $27 billion dollar budget and the NYS legislature has allocated more funds for NYC public schools. However the NYCDOE system has almost 2,000 experienced educators working as ATRs and continues to excess additional educators when they could instead use these teachers and funds to decrease class size.

The Contract for Excellence (C4E) figures that the DOE agreed to in 2007 were to have no more than 20 students in K-3, 23 in 4-8 and 25 in HS classes, with even smaller class size in the Renewal/Receivership/struggling schools. This hasn’t happened and the current UFT leadership continues to ignore the issue. Instead President Mulgrew lauds the de Blasio administration on class size reduction.

According to the blog NYC Public School Parents:

In 2015, Chancellor Carmen Farina instructed principals to ignore the class size cap in Kindergarten, probably the worst grade to allow this to happen, according to research.  The UFT belatedly responded by agreeing that in a class that exceeded 25 students, the teacher would receive an extra prep period or a classroom aide assigned to the classroom for part of the day. Neither of these measures took effect until after December in 2015, far too late into the school year, and neither would be expected to provide the same benefits to students as a small class.  In recent years, too often the resolution for class size violations in other grades as well has been to award teachers an extra prep period or some other concession – with no benefit to the 35 plus students in their classes.  

In 2016, the DOE and UFT created  a labor-management committee to focus  “on resolving overages in schools with a history of oversize classes”.  At the  time, it was claimed that this would lead to the speed of addressing class size in schools in which class sizes violate the limits year after year, without any resolution for months at a time.     

The proposed UFT contract puts forward a new bureaucratic process that will supposedly further “expedite” the process,  by referring them first to the district leader and the superintendent, and then to this same  central labor-management committee, but only after a delay of a full month or more of the school year — which is already far too slow for students whose education should not have to disrupted by switching teachers or classes so late in the year. .  .

According to the new UFT contract, the Bronx Collaborative schools will not only be offered new categories of higher paid mentor teachers, but will also “priority consideration for centrally funded initiatives such as Equity and Excellence initiatives, air conditioning, physical education and others that align to the schools’ goals. “ 

But apparently not class size reduction, which would give them the greatest opportunity to engage their students, leading to more learning and better outcomes. 

Read more about the issues we are working on http://www.uftsolidarity.org/uft2019issues/ or comment on this one below.


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