Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Hargens proposal would raise class size, hurt top performing schools, increase teacher workload

Louisville principal says JCPS proposal would hurt his school

Proposed class size changes
  • 4th grade would increase from 24-1 to 28-1 
  • 5th grade would increase from 24-1 to 29-1
  • 6th grade would increase from  28-1 to 29-1
  • 7th-12th grades would increase from 28-1 to 31-1

This from WDRB:
The principal at a top performing JCPS school is concerned about losing teachers.

Male High School Principal Jim Jury sent out an email on Monday warning staff about what could happen if JCPS approves a proposal as part of next year's budget.

WDRB 41 Louisville News
Jury is concerned about the proposal that could shift about 280 teachers to programs and schools that need more support.

The move would potentially put more kids in fourth through 12th grade classrooms.

In his email, Jury says that action would “…gut some of our AP classes and classes we offer that may not have 30 kids each period.”

His letter also goes on to say, “This is a big deal, folks. It absolutely would have an effect here and will drive staffing decisions. You all need to understand that…If we are to lose 8 teachers here, I don’t care what schedule we are on, we would not be able to make a master schedule work.”

"I'm really concerned by that," said Male parent Antonette Benford-Rhodes.

She says changing the class sizes at Male would hurt her daughter and others.

"How well are the students getting taught if you're doing that? Do they still get that attention that they need that they're getting now? And we can't afford to lose any teachers, we just really can't," said Benford-Rhodes.

The same concerns are felt at Manual High School.

"Moving a teacher from our school cuts a teacher from our school," said Manual High School PTSA President Pinky Jackson.

Jackson says she's meeting with her principal this week to see what it could mean for Manual kids.
"You know, sitting still all day long because their class size is so crowded is not best for the way their brain works,” said Jackson, “it's not best for the way they can become engaged, it's not best for them taking eight different classes."

WDRB education reporter Toni Konz says if the district changes its funding formula, schools and their site-based councils could lose the flexibility to staff classes as they see fit.

"It's possible that some schools will see a loss in teaching positions depending on the allocation and depending on what programs they have," said Konz.

That's why the Kentucky PTA and 15th District PTA will be holding a rally this week asking that statewide funding be restored.

The third annual event is called “Our Kids Can’t Wait.”

Members of Dear JCPS will be there too. The group, which posted Jury’s email on its Facebook page, says it gives stakeholders a voice and holds district administrators accountable.

"Start funding our schools,” said Brandon Hobbs, Director of Development for Dear JCPS. “Let us show you what we can do with the actual money that is supposed to be ours.  Let our teachers have the money so they can go into the schools and teach the kids and not have to take out of their pockets."

The JCPS board will discuss the proposal again next week.

As for the education rally, it's Thursday, Jan. 7, at 6:30 p.m. at Westport Middle School.


Bringyoursaddlehome said...

When I started looking for my first public school teaching position about a quarter of a century ago, my methods professor encouraged us to avoid telling folks who interviewed us that we would teach to the middle when it came to addressing the diverse ability levels we would be teaching. His comments predated the contemporary term "differentiated instruction" but that was the gist of his explanation - that we would teach to all children's abilities.

As I read this, I can't help but think that this potential staff reshuffling is going to result in just that - moving all kids to the academic middle ground. When we start dismantling programs for some kids in order to create ones for others we are moving in the wrong direction.

One must wonder how many resources must be realigned to demonstrate enough growth in at risk schools? If progress isn't demonstrated quickly enough, will even more resources/staff be reshuffled toward these at risk schools?More importantly, is increasing staffing at these schools which historically perform poorly, really going to address the root causes for that low performance?

Our state needs to start looking at ways of increasing revenue instead of cutting services or robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Richard Day said...

Whenever schools are inadequately funded, adequacy and equity are forced to compete.