Contracts for Excellence: New York City’s failures and violations of law as regards class size

November 15, 2011
Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters

Contracts for Excellence
• In April 2007, NY State settled the Campaign for Fiscal lawsuit by passing the Contracts for Excellence (C4E) law. State agreed to send billions in additional aid to NYC & other high needs school districts; which they would have to spend in six approved areas, including class size reduction.* In addition, NYC had to submit a plan to reduce class size in all grades. In fall of 2007, the state approved DOE’s plan to reduce class sizes on average to no more than 20 students per class in K-3; 23 in grades 4-8 and 25 in core HS classes.

• •

In return, NYS has sent $2.4 billion in C4E funds to NYC since 2007.

*other allowed programs include Time on Task; Teacher & Principal Quality; Middle & HS Restructuring; Full-Day Pre-K; & Model Programs for English Language Learners

Yet despite city’s promise, class sizes have risen sharply in K-3; this year, the 5th year of CSR plan, by one student per class, far above C4E goals
NYC class sizes K-3 actuals vs. C4E goals
25

24

23.9

23 22.1 21.4 21 21 20.9 20.7 20.5

22.9

22

C4E goals
20.3

20

20.1

19.9

Citywide actual

19

18 Baseline 2007-8 2008-9 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

This year’s class size data at http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/data/classsize/classsize.htm

K-3 Class sizes largest since 1998
(data sources: IBO 1998-2005; DOE 2006-11)
26

25

24.9

24 23.2 23 22.4 22 22.1 21.7 21 21.6 22.1 21.4 21.1 21.0 20.9 22.9

23.9

21.3

20

19

18

Also in grades 4-8, class sizes have continued to increase far above C4E goals
NYC class sizes 4th-8th actuals vs. C4e goals
27 26.6 26.3 26 25.6 students per class 25 25.1 24.8 25.3 24.6 23.8 23.3 23 22.9 25.8

C4E target

24

Citywide actual

22

21

Also in HS: average class sizes have risen far above goals
HS core class sizes actuals vs. C4E goals
27.5 27 26.5 students per class 26 25.5 25 24.5 26 25.6 26.1 25.7 25.2 24.8 24.5 Actual C4E targets 26.2 26.6 27

24
23.5 23 2007-8 2008-9 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12

Why is class size important?
• Class size reduction one of 4 reforms proven to work through rigorous evidence, acc. to Inst. Education Sciences, research arm of US Ed Dept. * • Benefits especially large for disadvantaged & minority students, very effective at narrowing the achievement gap. • NYC schools have largest class sizes in state; in 2003, NY’s highest court said students denied constitutional right to adequate education as a result of excessive class sizes (Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision). • 86% of NYC principals say cannot provide a quality education because of excessive class sizes. • Smaller classes are top priority of parents on DOE learning environment surveys every year.
• *Other three K-12 evidence-based reforms, are one-on-one tutoring by qualified tutors for at-risk readers in grades 1-3, Life-Skills training for junior high students, and instruction for early readers in phonemic awareness and phonics.

2011 average K-3 class size by Borough
25
24.7 24.5 24.7

24 23.7 23.5 23.7

23 22.6 22.5

22

21.5 Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Bronx Staten I

2011 average class size 4-8 by Borough
29 28.5

28

27.7

27

26.2 26 25.3 25 25.8

24

23 Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Bronx Staten I

No. of Kindergarten students in very large classes has increased sharply
• This year 42% (29797) of Kindergarten students in classes of 25 or more (25 is UFT contractual max); • Last year, for 1st time since 2000, there were more K students in classes of 25 or more than in classes of 20 or less; • This year, for 1st time since 1999, there were as many K students in classes of 20 or less (C4E goals) than in classes HIGHER than 25.

% Kindergarten classes, large, very large & small since 1998
70%

60%
58% 58%

50%
42% 40% 38% 33% 31% 33% 27% 26% 23% 24% 20% 20% 17% 16%

40%

39%

41%

% at 25 or more % over 25 % at 20 or less

30%

30% 27%

20% 16% 10%
8% 9%

11% 7% 6% 6%

11%

16%

8%

0%

Why is this important?
• When Bloomberg first ran for office, promised that he would reduce class size in grades K-3 to 20 or less.

• Recent study shows that students in smaller classes in K are more likely to graduate from college, own home and have 401K3 more than 20 years later.*
*Raj Chetty et. al. “How Does your Kindergarten classroom affect your earnings? Evidence from Project Star,” NBER Working Paper 16381

What happened to the C4E program?
• Despite more than $2 billion in C4E funds and higher overall spending, city has cut school budgets about 14% since 2007. • Maintenance of effort provision in C4E law was ignored (city cut funding to schools when state increased spending despite prohibition of supplanting) • Overcrowding in many schools worsened by growing enrollment & damaging co-locations. • C4E state funding never reached full level & has now flat-lined or slightly decreased.

But even when state C4E spending increased; class sizes grew !
$700 645 $600 22.1 645 22.9 23.5 23 22.5 $500 21.4 $400 21 531 22

C4E spending (in millions)

21.5
21 20.5

20.9

$300 258 $200

20 19.5 19

K-3 average class size

$100 18.5 $0 2006-7 18 2007-2008 2008-9 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012

C4E goals

Why? administration had other priorities
• Between 2002-9, while out-of-classroom positions grew by over 10 thousand, general ed classroom teachers shrunk by more than 1600.* • In 2010, there were 2,000 fewer teaching positions and 18,000 more students. • This year, there are 2,500 fewer teachers and 20,000 more students.

• Spending on testing, contracts, consultants, and more bureaucrats have all risen sharply.
• (including principals, secretaries, APs, literacy coaches, etc. NY Times, “With More Money, City Schools Added Jobs,” June 30, 2009).

But can we afford to reduce class size?
• In 2009, DOE estimated that it would cost $358 million per year to achieve average C4E class size goals across the city;

• DOE estimated it would cost $448 million per year in staffing to achieve class size goals in ALL schools; plus more in capital costs for school construction. • This year, NYC is to receive more than $530 million in C4E funds.

Other questions re city’s plan
• State ed allocated $530.8M in C4E funds to city this year. Yet city’s plan only includes $348M; what happened to rest of these funds? • Why did the city choose not to centrally allocate a penny of C4E funds to class size reduction, given they had a legal obligation to lower class size ? • Only C4E district-wide initiative that DOE claims as “class size reduction” is to expand CTT classes, which does not lower class size.

Problems with public process
• This year, C4E meetings happening too late in the school year; supposed to happen before money spent, so public can have input. • This yr., SED asked to “pre-approve” plan; but state law says city’s plan should be submitted to state only after public hearings occurred, so that public comments can help guide decision as to whether plan needs changing. • C4E law requires for borough hearings as well as CEC presentations; but DOE has refused to do this since 2008. • See letter to Commissioner King from CSM & UFT, pointing out the many violations of law in public process this year.

Contractual limits vs. C4E class size goals
C4E Class Size goals by 2011

UFT Contract limits Kindergarten 1-3 grades 4-5 (Title 1 Schools) 4-5 (Non-Title 1) 6-8 (Title 1 Schools) 6-8 (Non-Title 1) 9-12 (core classes)

25 28 32

19.9 19.9 22.9

32 30
33 34

22.9 22.9
22.9 24.5

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