Update on the Mayor’s Plans for Our Schools & Please Take Our Survey Now!

September 17, 2015

Dear Friend,

Yesterday, the Mayor gave a well-publicized speech about his plans to move our schools forward. With great fanfare, he announced he would improve our schools by adding 2nd grade reading specialists, more Algebra, computer coding and AP classes, as well as “single shepherds” for middle and high school students in two districts (D7 in the Bronx and D23 in Brooklyn) who will stay as their personal counselors through high school.

I was quoted in today’s NY Times about the lack of research to back up these ideas, as well as the fact that De Blasio made many promises to parents during his campaign to lower class size that he now appears to have forgotten. As a result, children in the early grades continue to suffer from the largest classes in 15 years. How can the Mayor talk about the importance of parent trust and ignore what is their top priority for their children’s schools?

Each of the individual proposals are appealing in themselves, but aside from reading specialists do not appear to address the problems of low achievement in our schools. Certainly none of them have the rigorous evidence to show they will help boost student learning and narrow the achievement gap as does class size reduction.

It is extremely disappointing that in a speech called “Equity and Excellence” the overriding issues of equitable funding and equitable class sizes were ignored. The state’s highest court said NYC children will not be provided with their constitutional right to an adequate education until and unless class sizes are reduced.

How will more AP classes help the more than 350,000 struggling students in classes of thirty or more? Even 2nd grade reading specialists sound like a very limited effort to improve the opportunities of children who should really be provided with small classes starting in Kindergarten and 1st grade, which studies show would significantly improve their reading comprehension, as well as their engagement and proficiency in all other subjects.

In contrast, the Mayor’s proposals, that will cost nearly $200 million, are bright & shiny ornaments, like a Christmas tree covered with decorations whose roots are starved for water.

Never matter; we will continue fighting for the rights of NYC kids to have the equitable class sizes they need and deserve.

2. Please take our 5-minute survey, if you haven’t already, about the class sizes in your schools this fall. This is important information for us to know! All responses will remain fully confidential unless you decide otherwise.

Thanks as always for your support,

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

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Categories Newsletters, Recent Newsletters | Tags: , , , | Posted on September 17, 2015

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