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UFT Resolutions

Resolution strengthening our commitment to lower class size and hold the NYC DOE accountable for enforcement of class size reduction

UFT Resolutions

WHEREAS, excessive class sizes have been a consistent problem in NYC public schools for generations; and

WHEREAS, the UFT has a strong history of fighting for and prioritizing smaller class sizes, most notably being the first union to win the right to cap class size in the 1960s; and

WHEREAS, in the last twenty years we have continued this fight in many ways, including but not limited to the coalition we helped create in 2003 called New Yorkers For smaller Classes which gained 115,000 signatures on a petition asking to limit class sizes in all grades, but was bumped off the ballot by the appellate division court after Bloomberg filed an appeal to remove the issue, as well as, in 2018 the expedited process we created in the contract to address class size issues, as well as making it the first item in our 2021 five point recovery plan; and

WHEREAS, we know that class size is one of the most defining issues affecting equity in our system right now, that the children of our city deserve just as much as children throughout the rest of the state; and

WHEREAS, New York City classes remain, on average, 15% to 30% larger than those in the rest of the state; and

WHEREAS, if class size was something that mirrored the rest of the state before this pandemic hit, our education system would have been way less disrupted over these past 20 months; and

WHEREAS, the New York City building occupancy code has not been updated since 1938, when the city was in the midst of a tuberculosis outbreak; and

WHEREAS, this pandemic has truly illuminated that class size is also an issue of public health; and

WHEREAS, we have finally found a way to force the city to recognize class size as the public health issue that it is; and

WHEREAS, we have a City Council that is considering passing a once-in-a-generation bill that would make physical space per student into administrative code, to make it the city’s responsibility to give each child the physical space they deserve to remain safe and provide us a legal recourse to pursue when class size capacities are violated; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, we must seize this opportunity for change and urge the NYC Council to adopt Int 2374-2021; and be it further

RESOLVED, that UFT members will activate for this cause — including but not limited to actions such as informational picketing, petition distribution and other outreach efforts — to engage with and educate each other and our surrounding communities in order to gain and solidify support of this bill and hold the city council members accountable; and be it further

RESOLVED, that in order to make sure that the goals of the proposed legislation are reached when the legislation is passed, the UFT will pursue working with the DOE to establish a joint Labor-Management Committee; and be it further

RESOLVED, the joint UFT/DOE Labor-Management Committee will prioritize the creation of guidance for the rollout of this proposed policy across the city, a process for reporting and enforcing the proposed legislation, and will work with the city council and the city comptroller’s office on the steps needed to reach full compliance; and be it

RESOLVED, we will follow up the passage of the City Council bill with further actions including but not limited to supporting related state legislation, prioritizing the issue in our future collective bargaining agreements and contract, lobbying for more funding sources and engaging in possible litigation, if necessary, if the city fails to comply with the law.

Related Topics: Class Size