Update on class size, SLTs, and student privacy

November 22, 2016

Dear friend,

1.This year’s average school level and citywide class size data was released last week, showing a slight decrease in average class sizes in most grades. However, the decrease was so small that it would take 11 years before city schools reached acceptable Contract for Excellence class sizes in grades K-3, and 37 years in 4th-8th grades, and a decade in high school.  More than 300,000 students are still crammed into classes of 30 students or more.  More on this in the Daily News here.  Please check out what the data says for your school, and if there are errors (and we’ve seen some) please email us at info@classsizematters.org to let us know.

2.We have posted a new fact sheet explaining the meaning of the recent Appellate Court decision on School Leadership Team meetings, which ruled unanimously that they are subject to the Open Meetings Law. Please share the fact sheet with other parents and community members and let them know that any member of the public who wishes to attend these meetings has the right to do so – as well as to be notified in advance.  The fact sheet also explains the powers and authority of every SLT, which are significant.

3. Just a few weeks ago, a new federal Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking received testimony from several organizations, proposing to eliminate the ban on a national student database, a ban passed by Congress in 2008. Notably, the Gates Foundation has said that overturning this ban is one of their top advocacy priorities for 2017, to allow the federal government to collect the personal data of all public school students and track them from preK through high school and college, into the workforce and beyond.

If Congress lifted the ban and allowed the creation of a national student database — supposed to be used solely for research purposes — imagine how easily the government or other third parties could simply “flip the switch” and exploit the information for unethical purposes.  For example, in England, information from their national student database has now been requested by the police and the Home Office for various purposes, including to curb “abuse of immigration control.”

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy along with other parent and advocacy groups sent a letter to the Commission last week, expressing our view that that the potential risks of such a centralized, comprehensive federal database are enormous – either from data breach or misuse. Our letter was reprinted last weekend in the Washington Post Answer Sheet.


Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011

follow on Twitter| friend on Facebook
forward to a friendsubscribe to this newsletter

Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on November 22, 2016

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google del.icio.us Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Comments are closed.