Class Size: Teachers may want smaller class sizes – but does the Union and the Administration?
In spring of 2016, Trustee Muir declined to approve the 2015-2018 Master Contract because she wanted protections in the contract to limit class sizes to protect student interests. She repeatedly expressed concerns that the class sizes would go up. President of the teacher's PAC, Bob Croft, publicly and repeatedly vilified her, often shouting at her during heated public comments that she knew nothing about what she was talking about.
On January 14, 2016, a column by Marsha Sutton outlined the Class Size issue, pointing out how Article 6.01 in the 2012-2015 teachers’ contract provided maximum class size ratios, but that the 2015-18 Master Contract did not:
2012-15 Master Contract Ratios were Included
32 students to 1 certificated teacher for high schools
29 students to 1 certificated teacher for middle schools
2015-2018 Master Contract Only Class Size Averages were included.
38.4 average for high schools
34.6 average for middle schools
Sutton was similarly criticized. In fall of 2016, board candidate Lucile Lynch met with Croft and tried o convince him in person and through numerous emails (after the raises had already been approved), to try to get him to agree to an amendment to the contract in order to protect both students and teachers by requesting the addition of pupil/teacher ratios. She also presented a public comment to the board asking it to work with the teachers' association to amend the contract to include a pupil:teacher ratio, citing information from the CTA and other sources about the importance of specific public/teacher ratios instead of the use of "class size averages" set forth in the Master Contract.
Instead of supporting her efforts, Croft branded her as "anti-teacher"throughout the 2016 election with scathing Facebook messages, even though she was pushing for pupil:teacher ratios, a highly teacher-friendly clause that associations and unions often beg to get in a master contract.
And now, guess what? The teachers are pushing pupil:teacher ratios. but what about the Union and Administration?
Unsure, it looks as though Bob Croft was working with the Administration for years to try to maximize the number of students in a classroom regardless of the burden on the Students and the actual teacher teaching the class? (Remember prior to his retirement Mr. Croft had not taught a class for 7 years)
Watchdog recently received public records that show that in 2012 Union President Bob Croft was working to put as many students in a classroom as possible. See e-mail chain
Watchdog was interested in understanding the EdCode as it pertained to High School Class sizes and here is what the CDE told us in December 2018:
"There is no requirement on class sizes for high schools, other than the fire code. The fire code for a classroom is 20 sq. ft per occupant. So if a classroom in 960 sq. ft, it can have 46 peoples--students, teacher staff. Labs and cafeteria spaces will have different fire code occupancy standards. There is not a maximum enrollment on a school site, just individual spaces like classrooms"
Principal coffees throughout the District have had parents continue to ask why are class sizes so high. Torrey Pines High School Principal Rob Coppo commented during his recent principal coffee that higher class sizes are easier for teachers because with more kids in a class you have a better opportunity for student engagement. (What?!)
Well, the teachers may disagree with Principal Coppo and the Administration. This week’s Board Agenda (Item 27) contains the sunshine statements from the San Dieguito Faculty Association’s focus for negotiations. The #1 item:
Improve the quality of education provided to SDUHSD students by decreasing class sizes at all District schools
Rounding out the other "asks" are:
Improve the quality of District-provided instruction by decreasing or eliminating unnecessary or non-instructional workload demands placed upon certificated unit members.
Support opportunities for academic innovation and reform.
Maintain the security and stability of the financial compensation and health care for certificated unit members.
Continue to use the interest-based, collaborative process as SDFA and the District mutually address common problems, concerns, and issues.
The District in item 26B identified its points of negotiation:
To retain a highly qualified certificated staff
To be proactive and fiscally prudent
To ensure long-term budget stability for the District
To support opportunities for academic innovation and reform
To continue to strengthen the cooperative relationship between the District and SDFA, through collaborative problem-solving.
There is a noticeable disconnect between the two positions at this point.
CALL TO ACTION
Community, this is your prime opportunity to be heard. Share your opinions, we have the power to make positive change for the health and well-being of our Students and those that are on the front lines providing educational services to them every school day.
Attend the Board Meeting April 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm at the District Office
Send an e-mail to a trusted board member to share your viewpoint.