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A concerned member of the human race

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When Class Size is Allowed to Go Through the Roof

No Longer With a Circular 6 Assignment, the Rabbit Need Not Scurry So Fast--While Alice Looks On...
A Queens arbitrator recently ruled against high schools with classes in excess of thirty-four students.  One would naturally assume that given the ruling class sizes would be reduced as speedily as possible.  One might guess the problem would not recur.  It seems, however, that instead of prioritizing the reduction in class size, the parties involved agreed to allow teachers of over-sized classes to bow out of their Circular 6 assignments (hall duties, club sponsorship, tutoring, grant-writing, etc).  Some teachers are satisfied with the remedy.  Granted that reducing class size is difficult (it would be easier to prevent the growth of an over-sized class), I object in principle to the remedy.

Imagine if I were a parent.   Would I want my kid in a class with forty students--even if the teacher has an extra free period every day to grade two more papers?  Probably not.  How much attention will my child receive during his forty minute period?  Will there even be a minute per child?  Will there be enough seats for all the students?  Will everyone's voice be heard?

Suppose I was a new teacher, I might not mind the additional students; but then again, I might.  Would I tell anyone?  Without tenure, I would have to suck it up, lest I lose my job.  Can you imagine life in a world without tenure?  It rots for teachers.  It rots for students.  If I have fifteen extra students in three classes, shouldn't I receive more remuneration than the teacher with one extra student in one class?  How fair is this system to anyone?  The more teachers who teach over-sized classes, the fewer teachers are needed.  Someone has lost a job.  When teachers lose their Circular 6 assignments, the remainder of the teaching body may be asked to take up the slack or the whole school may suffer.  There is a potential for far more stress in the system.  

Has a dangerous precedent been set?  Will the class sizes ever be reduced?  Are we reneging on our basic rights and the quality education we owe our students?  Will schools have any incentive to downsize classes in the future if the worst punishment for violations is a few teachers lose their C6 and can no longer tutor students or perform other professional activities?  Is there any hope that class sizes will be reduced further in the future when they are creeping up in violation of current agreements?  Who are the real losers?  Will more over-sized classes be coming at us all down the road?  Where is our sense that education is for the students and students deserve individual attention?  These decisions are not in the best interest of students and, ultimately, I feel they will not be in the best interest of teachers.    


  1. thanks for this. If you know any teachers w/ classes that violate the limits please let them know I'd love to talk to them off the record. please email me at leonie@classsizematters.org thanks!

  2. Hence why parents need to know why they need their children's teachers tenured. See what happened to this young teacher. She thankfully escaped and works at another school. http://dtoe.org/2014/08/25/another-case-for-tenure-principal-juman-and-the-new-doe-target-non-tenured-whistleblower/