CUTA Speech to the Board
by Amanda Fanning
Hello. First, let me take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Amanda Fanning, and my career in Carlsbad Unified began as a student teacher at Carlsbad High School ten years ago. Since then, I have continued my career at CHS: as a varsity coach, a Master teacher, and now, President of the Carlsbad Unified Teachers Association.
I would like to take a moment to thank the board for listening to our requests in hiring Dr. Lovely, Mr. Grove, and Dr. Nye. You heard us when we asked for individuals who would be willing to listen and work respectfully with teachers. In hiring these individuals, we are optimistic that we can overcome the contentious relationship which has plagued our district for the past eight years. We appreciate the mutual respect and positive communication Dr. Lovely, Mr. Grove, and Dr. Nye have helped to create.
As this year begins, I would like to remind the board that our top priority within CUSD remains the quality of education and safety of our students. However, this past year, class sizes were raised to a new high, resulting in a drop in many CST categories. This increased number of students per teacher decreases a teacher’s ability to give prompt, quality feedback.
It is simply not possible for teachers to have as much “contact” with individual students as is necessary for their success.
Now, as the Local Control Funding Formula begins its roll-out, we find it requires an on-going effort to reduce class averages in Kindergarten-Third grade down to 24 students per teacher or risk losing funding. The State is demanding this decrease in class sizes because they understand it is integral to the success of children.
At the high school level, the College Board, which accredits high school courses for college credit, states administration must support teachers having no more than 25 students enrolled in each course. They understand that even the highest-level students need increased contact time with their teachers to be successful.
As we understand the demands of Common Core better, it’s clear that the types of higher level reading, writing, computing and thinking promoted by Common Core State Standards will require more student /teacher contact. Smaller class sizes will be paramount to meeting the demands of Common Core.
Higher than normal averages present not only a concern within the classroom, but also with school safety. Beginning this year, CHS brought in extra security personnel to guarantee student safety. In just two weeks, there has been a positive change in school culture. Students are arriving on time, and politely engaging with security staff.
There is a direct correlation between an increased ratio of adults to students and student success. Please help us return to the class sizes that will allow us to best support our students academically as well as keep them safe.
Dr. Lovely and I have already met and discussed class size issues. Her willingness to listen and understand our concerns leaves me optimistic that you, the board, will recognize and address these ongoing issues for the improved safety and education of our students. The economic future of CUSD is improving—let’s work together to lower class sizes and return the focus of CUSD to student safety and success.