YONKERS, NY — MARCH 9, 2021 — I am a parent of two in this ‘prestigious’ district and I wanted to share this missive with you. Our children are in two different schools, by choice, so this is from that perspective.
Some things that I have seen, experienced, and what I find quite troubling is the fact that the Yonkers school district makes the call on how large class sizes will be and what tests/exams will be administered. I am very thankful that this pandemic happened because it has caused many of the issues that I have come across to be brought to light. And I am hoping you will help me to highlight it, so that all will be informed.
Did you know that the student/teacher ratio is determined by the district? What the district and the UFT have been lackadaisical in permitting to happen is over-stressing our teachers. I cannot remember the exact number for the upper grades 1 through 12. But for Pre-K & K, the number of students per teacher can be as much as 25/1, with an aide. Now this past ‘school year’ before Christmas break 2019, my daughter’s teacher had 18 children in her class. While I was there for parent/teacher conference, the principle informed the teacher that she would be getting ‘some more’ children in her class. I mean what is the teacher supposed to say, ‘no thank you, I have enough already.’ After we got back from break, I saw the teacher managing 26 students by herself. Her aide was out sick. Very sick and needed to be hospitalized. This poor woman when she was questioned why she had one too many students was told it was because she is Montessori based classroom and that her class size can be a bit larger. By this very premise, that would mean that her class size ca be much larger than that. This is what the district AND her lovely union allowed to happen. And while this may be an exception to the rule and not the norm, very fact that they allowed it to happen once means that it could happen again.
The Measure of Academic Progress (M.A.P.} testing. You have heard of it, I am sure. They claim it is an ‘advancing test’. Whatever the bleep that means. It is my understanding that much of the material on the test was/is not part of the curriculum, YET it is on the test, WHY? While taking the test, the children would let the proctor/teacher know that they were not exposed to the material. What can they do except to say just answer it the best way they can. Yet, these people would have you believe that this practice is not affecting the children’s overall score. If so, then why do the schools get a grade on how well the children are doing on these ‘tests’ in the district and around the country? This practice needs to stop.
Lastly, what I have noted most importantly that is due to and attributed to Covid-19 is that the class sizes are playing a major role in our children not being able to ALL attend school at the same time. As you may know, Yonkers is set up for the hybrid model. Four days a week. Some children go Monday/Tuesday, others Thursday/Friday. Now if you were to take those two groups and place then together more often than not, classed cold not be held. It would be two many children to fit into the criteria of the 6 ft apart distancing requirement. Which brings us back to class sizes being too large. This problem also plays into the ‘mental health’ issues in regards to the students that has been a running thing for the district. BUT I say to you, what about the teachers? These people have lives of their own. Saddling them with such high amount of students is wrong. It affects their mental health which in turn affects the children. The Yonkers Board of Education oard of Trustees need to step up and ACT with integrity and some ETHICS. Begin by making decisions to TRULY place the teachers, as well as to the best interests of students at heart. THEN and only then, perhaps we can begin to have a system that is not overburdened.
A Very Concerned Parent of the District
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Editor’s Note: This is a legitimately concerned parent who has a right to tell it as it is understood. If there are any concerns it is that the Yoners Board of Education does not openly divulge what they do, why they do it, and the integrity of their conduct whether devised by them or another body within or without the City of Yonkers. The bottom line is simple: speak up or look like a fool when those who should be open and accessible to parents/guardians chose to be silent or say, “Yes!” But don’t deliver. The lack of transparency is 75 percent of the problem while the rest is composed of they who nod in agreement and DO NOT follow through. — Kindly, Hezi