Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

class sizes

class sizes

  • The Big, Bold Idea of Smaller Class Sizes

    Gotham Gazette The Big, Bold Idea of Smaller Class Sizes

    Students (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    This week, the City Council heard debate about a bill that would require the New York City Department of Education to cap how many people it can squeeze into our classrooms. The purpose is to ensure better ventilation and reduce the possibility of viral spread — a health safeguard in the era of COVID-19.

    The end result would be fewer students in each classroom — a reduction in class size that New York City students, families, and educators have been

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  • The Major Problems with New York City’s School Reopening Plan

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    Mayor de Blasio and school kids (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Despite New York City Department of Education officials’ claims during this past week’s City Council hearing that the city’s school reopening plan for this fall represents “the gold standard,” the reality is that the plan is riddled with profound flaws.

    First, and perhaps

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  • The State Should Restart the City’s Clock on Shrinking Class Sizes

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    School in session (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In 1980, Robert Jackson enrolled his daughter in Kindergarten at P.S./I.S. 187 on Cabrini Boulevard in Washington Heights. He soon noticed that her class sizes were huge, sometimes more than 30 or 35 children. There were no science or art rooms left because the school had been forced to convert them to classrooms. He decided to run for president of the school’s parents association, was elected, and soon thereafter became the head of the Community School Board in District

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  • Two Keys to Solving the City’s School Crisis

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    Students at work (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The way our children are being educated has changed dramatically by this COVID-19 pandemic. As a working mom, it feels like I’ve been running a marathon and someone keeps moving the finish line. Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools Chancellor Richard Carranza have thus far been unable to give working families a clear plan for how our children can safely return to school in the fall. 

    The options offered by the de Blasio administration are to either continue with full-time remote learning or a hybrid

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  • To Reopen Schools, The Mayor Needs Smaller Classes - Here’s $570 Million in Potential Department of Education Savings to Get Him Started

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    Mayor de Blasio needs a plan to reopen city schools (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Department of Education has lost 74 employees to the novel coronavirus, including 30 teachers and 28 paraprofessionals who have died as of May 8. Evidence has also emerged that children can develop serious illnesses after being infected with the virus, and even those who are asymptomatic are often effective transmitters. 

    Now

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  • Far Too Many Classrooms are Overcrowded, It’s Time for City Leaders to Act

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    DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza visits a classroom (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    In the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, the state’s Court of Appeals concluded in 2003 that class sizes were too large in New York City schools to provide our students with their constitutional right to a sound basic education, writing that “[T]ens of thousands of students are placed in overcrowded classrooms… The number of children in these straits is large enough to represent a systemic failure.”

    And yet despite this decision, and the fact that

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  • More Testing is Not the Answer for New York City Students, But Smaller Classes Could Be

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    DOE Chancellor Carranza & Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The Department of Education rolled out new standardized testing for thousands of students across New York City last month. For now, the new tests are supposedly targeted to low-performing (aka low-scoring) schools, but all signs point to the expansion of additional standardized testing citywide.

    More standardized testing is the exact opposite of what New York City should be doing to help students and, if anything, these new tests could actually hurt our most vulnerable students. Piling

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  • Struggling with Overcrowded Schools and Large Class Sizes, City Advances $8.8 Billion Plan

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    Mayor de Blasio & others break ground for a new East New York school (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Some days, it can be hard for Arthur Goldstein to walk down the hallway of Francis Lewis High School in Queens, where he teaches English as a second language. Goldstein’s school is one of 25 overcrowded schools in the 26th school district, and has a utilization rate of 207 percent, according to a 2018 Department of Education ...