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UFT Resolutions

Resolution to rescind mandate relief

UFT Resolutions

WHEREAS, the NYS Legislature adopted mandate relief in 1995 that allowed NYC to save money by increasing the size of the special education resource room and related-service groups from five students to eight per one teacher or provider; and

WHEREAS, the same mandate relief allowed NYC to increase the number of students assigned to a resource room teacher at the elementary level from 20 to 30 and at the middle and high school levels from 30 to 38; and

WHEREAS, a study of this mandate relief conducted by NYS’s School of Education in 1997 found that the maximum group size of eight corresponded with a substantial decrease in reading achievement scores and both group and individual instructional time; and resource room teachers, who are UFT members, felt that increases in instructional group size diminished their ability to help students; and

WHEREAS, as a result of these findings, the 1997 NYU study recommended a return of resource room size to a maximum of five students per one teacher, which remains the ratio required by State Education Department regulations for every other school district in the state; and
WHEREAS students in resource room (SETSS) and related-services groups are required to be grouped by similarity of needs in the areas of academic achievement, social development, physical development and management needs and the increase in group size for resource room (SETSS) and related service groups from five to eight significantly diminished providers' ability to group students by similarity of needs and thus their ability to meet student's needs;

WHEREAS, rather than following this recommendation, the state has continued to allow the group size in these NYC classrooms to remain at 8:1 for 20 years; and

WHEREAS, in 2000, the NYC Board of Education renamed the resource rooms after adopting a new continuum of services for students with disabilities. That model established the Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS), which combined the requirements of a Consultant Teacher and Resource Room; and

WHEREAS, the city's economy has stabilized considerably since the financial crisis of 2007-08, and the Independent Budget Office has estimated that by the fiscal year's end, June 30, 2016, the city could have a $963 million surplus; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT calls on the New York State Legislature to rescind its 1995 mandate relief that required the Commissioner of Education to adopt regulations allowing the city to have a maximum of eight students in what were then called resource rooms and in related-service groups; and to allow caseloads for those who were once called resource room teachers at the elementary level to increase from 20 to 30 and from 25 to 38 at the middle and high school levels; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT calls on NYS to require that the city's schools adhere to a maximum of five students to one teacher or provider in SETSS and related-service settings, and establish a maximum caseload for SETSS services of 20 students at the elementary level and 25 at the middle and high school levels.