Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The NY Times discovers the crisis of overcrowded classrooms

An article in today’s NY Times reveals that admissions to Kindergarten at PS 290 is being capped, with a growing waiting list. It is not clear where these children will attend school, since all the other Upper East Side schools are overcrowded as well. As are many schools on the Upper West side, Greenwich Village, and elsewhere throughout the city.

“ The combination of overcrowded classrooms in neighborhoods newly inundated with young children, a recession that is causing some families to rethink expensive private schools, and a new citywide admissions process that requires people to sign up for kindergarten earlier has spread fear of lotteries and rejections across playgrounds and online discussion groups.”

“…newly inundated with young children?” Not exactly.

Though the crisis is clearly worsening, many of these schools have been overcrowded for years. In 2006-7, PS 290 was already at 155% capacity, according to the DOE's "Blue Book." At PS 6, class sizes in Kindergarten reached 28 this fall, and the school was forced to convert their only art room to an extra classroom.

Despite these clear warning signs, the DOE has refused to build, expand or lease any new elementary schools on the Upper East Side in many years, and there is not a new school building for the area in the next five year capital plan.

Parent leaders and elected officials have been pressing DOE officials for many years to create a new school to relieve overcrowding at all the neighborhood schools – which so far, they have refused to do. Instead, DOE has proposed creating five new Kindergarten classes, to be inserted into the basement of Wagner middle school next fall – presumably to be moved elsewhere, to a location unknown, the year after. And this is what Tweed calls planning.

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

I have to tell you, the DoE's books are crap, whatever color they are. They overestimate the number of classrooms and underestimate the percentage of overcrowding. My school is almost 100% more overcrowded than the DoE says it is. And every time we try to relieve it they send us another 500 kids, just to show us who's boss.