Monday, October 22

Regents may vote on Contract for Excellence today

The word in the email pipeline is that the Regents may be voting today on whether to accept the city's proposed Contract for Excellence. When last we heard, the state had mysteriously delayed its approval timeline and parent advocates were calling on the Regents not to approve the contract as it was proposed because it did not adequately address class size issues, even though it was required by law to. We've heard from experts at the State Education Department that the state has serious questions about whether the DOE is really directing new funding where it's supposed to go — into schools with the greatest need.

Last month, the city's Independent Budget Office released an audit showing that despite $200 million in class size reduction money, most grade school classrooms were overcrowded and any decline in class size could be attributed to decreasing enrollment, not DOE efforts to reduce class size. So the Regents are wise to be skeptical of the DOE's newest promises as well, especially given the city's many new testing and accountability initiatives that require new funds. Let's hope the Regents hold the DOE to its word — and to the law — on class size and other improvements.

The Regents' meeting today (starting at 11 a.m.) and tomorrow is being broadcast online, so you can watch the discussion for yourself. Let us know what you see!

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