In a recent survey of middle school teachers in the Framingham Public School system, during the first trimester there were 45 classrooms that violated the school committee policy on maximum class size. I have good reason to believe that these violations are continuing into the second trimester.
This policy, stating that a core content and world language classroom should have a maximum of 25 students, can be found in the online policy Manual located at http://framingham.k12.ma.us/sc.cfm in Section I, File IIB.
The number of students in a class directly impacts the time that a teacher can provide individual attention and appropriate differentiation of instruction.
While this bothers the staff in these classrooms, there is nothing they can do about it. In fact, there is nothing the Framingham Teachers Association can do about this either. Our teachers want all students to be successful and allow them the opportunity to grow and learn like all other students in their school and across the district.
If there was specific language in the contract regarding class size, then the Framingham Teachers Association would be able to do something to ensure these students have the same opportunities for differentiation and individual time as their peers.
All towns bordering Framingham except Marlborough have some type of language regarding a maximum number of students per teacher.
Some may say that Framingham is different from the towns that border it. By looking at districts that DESE considers comparable, using the DESE DART tools (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/analysis/default.aspx?orgcode=01000000&orgtypecode=5&), you can find nine other districts similar to Framingham. Of those nine other districts (Attleboro, Cambridge, Haverhill, Marlborough, Medford, Peabody, Salem, Waltham, West Springfield, Westfield), all but Marlborough and Westfield have class size language in their contracts.
All of these contracts are available online at http://educatorcontracts.doemass.org/contents.aspx
The inaction of the Framingham School Committee and the Superintendent on maintaining their policy is disheartening to teachers and impacts the kids.
To this end, the teachers association is working to place language into the contract that would codify the guidelines.
If you believe that the guidelines should be followed and that this language is important to the entire community, please make your thoughts known.