After weeks of hemming and hawing, Gov. Kathy Hochul final week signed the odious class-size invoice. It’s a present to teachers-union boss Michael Mulgrew, on the children’ expense.
Capping class measurement to twenty college students in Ok-3, 23 in 4th by way of eighth grade and 25 in highschool could sound like a grand thought — but when so, why solely mandate it for New York Metropolis’s public-school system?
In actual fact, all of the legislation actually does is drive the town Division of Training to commit extra of its restricted sources to hiring and paying academics, on the expense of different wants.
Crucially, meaning extra children will wind up in lessons taught by weaker academics — ones who wouldn’t have gotten employed with out the mandate. And since union guidelines give veteran, skilled academics nice energy to resolve what faculty they work at, the shift will inevitably see the “hardest” faculties wind up with extra of the newbies.
In different phrases, the hole between the town’s finest and worst public faculties will develop.
Hochul herself admits that that is an unfunded mandate — that’s, it orders the DOE to spend extra on academics with out giving it additional money to pay them. The DOE says it’ll price about $500 million a yr to cut back class sizes in Ok-5 alone, and about $1 billion for all metropolis school rooms
Hochul confessed final month to WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that discovering a “funding supply” (the principle cause Mayor Eric Adams cited for opposing the invoice) was nonetheless into consideration. However the one change she introduced as she signed it was a plan to delay the mandate’s begin till subsequent September and stretch out to 2028 the time earlier than it absolutely kicks in.
She hasn’t even pledged to struggle the Legislature for the funds to pay for it. (Not that she’s thus far fought it for something besides that billion-dollar giveaway to the Buffalo Invoice’s homeowners.)
And the class-size invoice’s lead sponsor, state Sen. John Liu (D-Queens), seems to be dead-set in opposition to giving the town any extra income to hold out the mandate, pointedly tweeting that that the town is already getting “$1.6 billion extra [in] state funding yearly” to cut back class sizes.
This, when metropolis class sizes are already shrinking as a result of DOE enrollment has fallen greater than 10% these final two years as mother and father vote with their toes over the unsuitable route metropolis faculties are taking.
No, the one winner right here is Mulgrew’s United Federation of Academics, whose membership rolls will now proceed to develop even when parental flight continues, and whose present members will discover their jobs develop simpler on the expense of the town’s neediest children — who’ve simply suffered the worst learning-loss through the UFT-backed faculty closures throughout COVID.
Truly, Hochul’s a winner, too, for the reason that rich UFT will now pull out the entire stops to assist her defeat GOP rival Rep. Lee Zeldin in November.
And all she needed to do was (once more) betray Adams, after additionally failing to get him a four-year extension of mayoral management: The 2-year one the Legislature insisted on means he’ll should struggle once more for the ability quickly earlier than he runs for re-election — giving the UFT and its pawns in Albany one other likelihood to blackmail him for recent concessions.
The short-extension legislation additionally lowered the mayor’s energy within the Panel for Academic Coverage, additional undermining his management of the DOE. Hochul, briefly, is a keen confederate in a number of critical defeats of Metropolis Corridor’s training agenda — one more reason Adams ought to withdraw his endorsement, on prime of her refusal to elevate a finger to repair the no-bail legal guidelines.
Identical to her disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo, Hochul’s solely precedence is her personal wants — the mayor, and the kids, be damned.