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Teachers rally at Toll

They join families who oppose plans to increase class sizes.

May 01, 2010|By Max Zimbert

GLENDALE — More than 150 school teachers, parents and students rallied Thursday at Toll Middle School to pressure the Board of Education to withdraw 105 teacher pink slips.

Organizers for the Glendale Teachers Assn. also encouraged attendees to join the Coalition to Protect Glendale Schools, which, with help from the California Teachers Assn., would support elected officials who protect class sizes.

“[Kindergarten] through third [grade] are the most formative years of our children’s education,” said union President Tami Carlson. “What they lose in those years will only be magnified in grades four through 12. That is going to affect our test scores, our award-winning schools, our property values and most important, our children’s futures.”


Union leaders also singled out school board members Mary Boger and Joylene Wagner for their vote to increase class sizes.

Boger and Wagner have said their children were in larger elementary school class sizes and were successful learners.

But Carlson, as well as the teachers who spoke after her, said kindergarten has changed with mandatory district assessments, full days of instruction, fewer teaching aids and more challenging students, like those who speak a different language at home.

“Our teachers are facing a much bigger challenge in [kindergarten through third grade] than when my children went to school and some of our board members’ children went to school,” Carlson said. “What they are either not telling you or don’t know, I’m not sure which, is that things have changed since their children and mine have attended Glendale schools.”

Boger and Wagner agreed that teachers have a more difficult job ahead, and said they understood public fears, but they contended that the fiscal integrity of all 31 school campuses were at risk.

“It may well slow our achievement climb for a bit, but my point to parents is it’s not the end of the world,” Wagner said. “The attention over the last several years to engagement, classroom management and best instructional practices, which have been the center of [a district program] Focus on Results and the collaboration among teachers, has been a huge benefit and will show itself to be a big benefit.”

In March, school board members voted 4 to 1 to increase class sizes. Boger and her colleagues said approval was necessary to maintain the district’s fiscal solvency.

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