Thursday, July 1, 2010

Send a Message to Congress to Prevent Damaging Increases in Class Size, NOW..! by Leonie Haimson - The Huffington Post

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All over the country, school budgets are being slashed to the bone and teachers are being laid off, leading to sharp increases in class size next year.

But we still have a chance to minimize these damaging effects on our schools.

Representative Obey, head of the House Appropriations committee, has introduced an amendment in Congress that would save thousands of teacher jobs , using funds drawn from the federal "Race to the Top" grant program, subsidies for charter school expansion, and teacher merit pay.

None of the programs that the Obey amendment would cut back on are research-based, according to the National Academy of Sciences, which has pointed out how these experiments may have negative effects on our schools.

Unlike reducing class size, these policies also have little support from most public school parents or educators. Meanwhile, the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the US Department of Education, has reported that providing smaller classes is one of only three reforms that has been proven to work through rigorous evidence.

So please tell your member of Congress today that you strongly SUPPORT the Obey amendment to save teacher jobs, and that cutting back on the risky federal expansion of high stakes testing and charter schools would be a great way to do this, by calling the Congressional switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

For more on the Obey amendment, see Education Week here.

You can also check out our earlier letter to Obama and Congress from parents across America about the importance of listening to parents and reducing class size and our piece in EdWeek about the way in which the US Department of Education has shut out parent voices from the debate over education reform.

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