Friday, March 17, 2006

So Where'd The Money Go?

From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The city has not brought the average size of its early grade classes below 20 students despite $491 million in state funds it has accepted for that purpose since 1999, a new report says.

The audit by State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, released Thursday, found that 59 percent of kindergarten through third-grade classes had more than 20 students. The city did reduce the average class size from 24.9 students in 1998-99 to 21.3 students in 2004-05, according to the audit.

The city has received $491 million under a 1997 state program that requires school systems to add the additional money to existing funding for those grades.

The Department of Education provided 1,566 too few classes for those grades than it should have under the law, Hevesi's report found.

"At a time when lower enrollment in the lower grades should have made it easier to cut class size, it's very disappointing that the city did not achieve the goal of an average 20 students in class," the comptroller said in a statement.

The audit covered the period between July 1, 2002, and June 30, 2005.

So what'd Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein do with the money given them for smaller class sizes for the early grades?

I'd bet the money went to bullshit professional development programs developed by Bloomberg and/or Klein cronies, room rugs, rulers to measure bulletin board margins, and photo copies of the core curriculum for all schools,

Important stuff like that.

But hey, at least we get to enjoy Snapple in all Department of Education facilities. It's made from the best stuff on earth - namely a Bloomberg money deal!!!

Nice to see you on education every now and then.

Small classes have been fought tooth and nail every step of the way by this mayor. Klein's 8 page dream contract had no class size restrictions whatosever, and Mayor Mike has personally vetoed a small-class ballot referendum at least twice.
I agree that the money for smaller classes went to either staff development stuff or more administrators. This is a real waste of money. Why won't Bloomberg respond to where the money went?
Bloomberg respond to where the money went? Whattya think this is, stubborn liberal, a democracy?

Thanks for the comment, nyc educator. I have to admit I'm having a hard time doing any education blogging. The contract battle left me feeling disgruntled and angry. My relish for education stories has dissipated. Even at work I've stopped talking about union/contract issues because I tend to sound more and more like a crazy person when I say the words "Unity" or "Weingarten." I've decided for my own well-being that I need to keep some distance from union/education issues for the time being, if only because thinking and/or writing about them makes me want to tear apart both Mayor Moneybags and Le Gran Fromage.

Now I know you do a lot on the class size issue, nyc educator, so what I know about the politics behind class size mostly comes from your site or the links you put up. But when I saw this AP story on class size go up on the web, I just rolled my eyes and had to have a go at it.

At what point will ordinary New Yorkers come to realize the Great Education Savior" mantle Bloomberg has placed upon himself is just total myth? I sense that most NYC public school parents already know this, and obviously we UFT members know it. But the rest of New York still seemed to be fooled by Bloomberg's "reforms" and rising (i.e., manipulated) test scores.
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