Why 30,000 teachers in Los Angeles are ready to beat huge class sizes

Older Manuela Panjoj will be demonstrating Wednesday outside the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters. (Jae C. Hong / AP) It is intuitive to feel that smaller classes make it easier for teachers to address the needs of each student, but sometimes we hear from very important people – former education secretary Arne Duncan and Microsoft founder Bill Gates in them – that it does not matter to a great teacher. Research clearly shows that it matters – a lot. An overview of the most important research that was published a few years ago and that can be found among other things: · The class size is an important determining factor for the results of students and one that can be determined directly by policy. If everything else is the same, increasing the class size will be detrimental to the results of the student. · The evidence suggests that an increasing class size will not only damage the test score of children in the short term, but also their long-term development of human capital. Money saved today by increasing the class size will lead to more substantial social and educational costs in the future. · The payment of the reduction of the class is greater for children with low incomes and minorities, while a possible increase in class size is probably the most harmful for these populations. [Class size matters a lot, research shows] Yet in many districts the classes are 30, 40 or even 50 students, and it is a big problem in the contract deadlock in Los Angeles, where about 30,000 teachers are ready to go on strike on Monday. A judge in Los Angeles Superior Court said Thursday that the union, United Teachers Los Angeles, could strike legally on Monday. The teachers demanded, among other things, smaller class sizes and more funding for public schools. On Thursday, the new governor of California, Gavin Newsom (D), proposed a $ 209 billion budget that would significantly increase public school funding. After the announcement, the Unified School District in Los Angeles sent a release stating that Friday would offer a new proposal on the size of the class for United Teachers Los Angeles. In this post the issue of the class size in Los Angeles and, by extension, is discussed elsewhere everywhere. It was written by Leonie Haimson, the founder and executive director of Class Size Matters, a non-profit organization that advocates small classes. By Leonie Haimson More than 30,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – the second largest school district in the country after New York City – are about to go on strike because they have reached an impasse with the district administration. The strike, scheduled to start Monday, will be the first for the union, the United Teachers or Los Angeles, in nearly 30 years. The most important point is not a salary, where the two parties are close to each other; Superintendent Austin Beutner has offered a 6 percent increase, with the union needing 6.5 percent. Even more controversial are the excessive class sizes suffered by too many Los Angeles public school students and teachers. The district claims they can not afford to reduce the class, while the union says there is a budget surplus of more than $ 1.8 billion. Although some people claim that class is not really important for a good teacher, it does. Research convincingly shows that small classes benefit all students, but in particular underprivileged students of color, who get the benefit of small classes twice. In the online magazine The Hill, former Minister of Education Arne Duncan, who worked under former President Barack Obama, wrote an opinion piece in opposition to the strike and to defend the position of the district in which he made a number of dubious claims. The first was to support the district's statement that LAUSD has smaller average classes than any other large district in California, but San Francisco. He wrote: On class size Los Angeles Unified has an average of 26 students per class. Of the 10 largest school districts in California, only one has a smaller average class size than Los Angeles. There are contradictory data about this, but suffice it to say that information on the LAUSD website supports the position of the trade union that average class sizes are probably much larger than 26 in each class, but K-3, with averages of more than 30 students per class in grades 4 through 8, and more than 40 in high school classes. In addition, a separate fact sheet prepared by the district says, "Nearly 60 percent of all Los Angeles Unified schools and 92 percent of primary schools have 29 or fewer students in each classroom." This means that 40 percent of public schools in Los Angeles have an average of 30 or more students per class. As the Los Angeles teacher Glenn Sacks has written: for example, in my secondary school we have more than 30 academic classes with 41 or more students, including nine English / writing courses, no less than 49 students and three AP lessons with 46 or more students. An English teacher has more than 206 students – 41+ per class. A US government teacher has 52 students in his AP government class. Writing is an important part of both classes – the sizes make it impossible for these teachers to properly assess and help students with their essays. How a teacher can give students individual support and attention in classes that are so large is simply impossible to imagine. More importantly, the argument that currently lies between the trade union and the neighborhood is not about average class sizes but maximum class sizes – and more specifically whether the neighborhood should comply with any limit for the class size. There is a waiver in the current contract that allows the district to ignore all class limits, as long as they claim financial necessity – and the administration benefits every year from the great recession in 2009., the district issued massive teacher redundancies, which class sizes increased in almost every school. Since then, the government has continued to use this loophole to unilaterally decide to violate previously agreed contractual limits, despite the fact that the district has had budget surpluses for many years in a row. You can see the language that allows them to do this, in Section 1.5 of Article 8 of the current UTLA contract, which is included in the latest offer of the union here:
(United Teachers Los Angeles) Although the LAUSD end offer now also lists this clause, it replaces a new one, allowing them to ignore agreed caps by class size if one of the many conditions occurs, including health benefits or pension costs that cost more than 2 percent annually , student enrollment drops more than 1 percent; teacher shortages occur, etc. etc. To make matters worse, the district's latest offer also increases the contractual maximum classes of 30 to 34 students per class in classes 4-5; and up to 37 students per class in most secondary and secondary schools. For more than five years, the Los Angeles School Board has been at record level to support smaller classes and has not done anything to achieve it. As former school board member Carl Peterson explained: on 18 June 2013, the school board of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) voted for a resolution that their chief inspector & # 39; encouraged to explore the feasibility of implementing classroom reduction for the 2014-15 academic calendar and to develop a long-term strategy for reducing classes that will yield positive academic results. "In the more than five years that have elapsed since the resolution should have been implemented, the district had four different chief inspectors, the class size ratio was exactly the same, year after year the classes are not under control in many schools and the district continues to demand that the superintendent has the unilateral right to contractual caps. without any limitation of his authority, so the real problem is not what the actual averages can be across the whole system, as Duncan claims, but whether class sizes in individual schools and classrooms may increase to 40 or 50 students per class, or even more, in the end the union brings its collect a good foot down and he no longer says. No teacher can effectively teach in these circumstances, and no child can learn, but especially those students in poverty, who make up 80 percent of the students in the district. The only independent member of a fact-finding arbitration panel to report on the trade union's deadlock and the contract at the end of last month agreed with the union that class sizes should be reduced. As David A. Weinberg, the neutral chair of the panel, wrote: I agree with the Union's argument that lower classes are one of the best predictors of successful teaching and student success. I also agree that lowering the class size can be one of the keys to raising the ADA [average daily attendance], and maintaining and recruiting students to LAUSD, which remains a common goal of the parties. Indeed, the elite private school where the children of Duncan go, the Lab school in Chicago, has average class sizes of 18 students, and per trade union they are capped at 24 students per class from kindergarten – with no exceptions. Would Duncan sit still if his own children were crammed into a class of 40 or more? Would the teachers of his children? Absolutely not. Because he is not satisfied with the red herring of average classes in his opinion, Duncan also throws in the following worn out straw man: As a parent you would rather have your child in a class of 26 students with a very effective teacher or a class of 22 with a less than effective teacher? Let's ignore the fact that in this case the issue is not a class size of 26, but classes of 30, 40 or more. But still, that is not the choice that teachers or parents have to make in secondary schools or elite private schools. Their children have access to both effective teachers and small classes. So higher education students in Los Angeles need public schools. In fact there is NO evidence that there would be a compromise between the class size and the quality of the teachers. One study showed that when the Los Angeles Unified School District had to triple the hiring of elementary teachers after the state's state reduction initiative in 1997, the district was able to do so without experiencing a reduction in average teacher effectiveness. " Even if the hiring of more teachers can lead to a temporary increase in the experience level, other studies have confirmed that when the class sizes are reduced, teacher turnover declines. This finding is not entirely surprising, because when teachers get better working conditions and a real chance to succeed, they find more satisfaction in their work and their motivation to leave the profession or work elsewhere is reduced. In this way, reducing class sizes in schools in Los Angeles to more reasonable levels is expected to work synergistically to improve the quality of teachers rather than undermine them, as lower exhaustion rates are likely to improve the level of experience and overall effectiveness of teaching personnel over time. LAUSD's own figures show that they could lower classes to pre-2008 levels for $ 200 million – just a little more than 10 percent of their current reserve. In addition, the trade union estimates that there are currently more than two thousand teachers who are used by the district in out-of-the-school positions, so this action would not cost as much as these people would be re-deployed. Why not? The reluctance of the administration may not only be financial. In 2000, California voters approved Proposition 39, which gave the charter schools the right to demand unused or underused spaces in public school buildings. Reducing the class size in public schools would require the use of more classrooms, leaving less room for the expanding school arts sector in Los Angeles to locate in their buildings together. The requirements of charter schools for space in public schools have risen explosively in the last decade, now that the chartering sector has expanded and the LAUSD registrations have shrunk and the class sizes have increased. Jackie Goldberg, another former member of the school in Los Angeles who also served at the state meeting as chairman of his education committee, explains: this is one of the unspoken reasons why the CCSA [California Charter School Association]-loaded school board refuses to consider paying off with Section 1.5; it would be the life of their partners on Prop. 39 making co-locations more difficult. And if we Prop. 39 can not change through our contract, we can at least ensure that our contract is no help for 39 invasions. Whose benefit is the blackboard and superintendent of Los Angeles that are supposed to serve? The 600,000 public school students in the district, whose schools are they responsible for the administration, and who are entitled to quality education with reasonable class sizes? Or the private charter school sector that spent almost $ 10 million in 2017 to choose a pro-charter majority on the LAUSD school board – in an election that is known to be the most expensive school board race in American history?