The Union on School Cuts
November 1st, 2011

With the city facing a multibillion dollar shortfall and the Bloomberg administration demanding further cuts, the United Federation of Teachers went on the offense today, with a study it says shows that fiscal constraints already have taken a toll on the city’s more than 1.1 million students.

A survey of union chapter leaders (perhaps not the most objective of sources) found, the UFT reports, that 74 percent of elementary schools have seen class size increase this year. The number of students in a class rose at 61 percent of the middle schools reporting and 59 percent of the high schools.

More than half of elementary schools responding have scaled back services to help academically struggling students, and almost two thirds cited reductions in supplies. In general, the chapter leaders at high schools cited fewer effects from cuts than those in elementary schools. And despite Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s pledge to focus on improving middle schools, 63 percent saw their afterschool programs curtailed and 59 percent lost extracurricular activities.

While the administration enthusiastically supports charters schools, which often offer after school and or weekend programs, it has ramped back efforts to expand instructional time for students in its conventional public schools, according to the report. About 60 percent of schools at all levels reported cuts in afterschool programs, and about 40 said weekend programs had been reduced.

In a statement on his union’s report UFT president Michael Mulgrew said, “Based on our survey, an estimated 91 percent of our school population — nearly 1 million children — are in schools where budget cuts are having a direct and immediate effect on their education.”

By on November 1, 2011, 2:09 pm
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