Thursday, July 7, 2011
letter from AM Glick to Chancellor Walcott re school overcrowding
Why couldn't she run the DOE? We can always dream....
Dear Chancellor Walcott,
The Department of Education has indicated in numerous meetings that a rezoning of District 2 will occur in the near future. Before any conversations on such a topic can begin, I would like to formally express my underlying concern that any type of rezoning will not be sufficient to alleviate the need for more school seats in District 2. Furthermore, I am concerned that the pedagogical leanings of the Department of Education, which de-emphasize the importance of teacher student ratios, will impact any proposed rezonings in a way that parents in my community find unacceptable. Inadequate capacity, more than anything else, is the issue facing schools in District 2. If a dinner party is held for twenty-nine people but there are only twenty available chairs, switching the seating arrangement does not solve the problem.
My office has long been a proponent for smaller class sizes for New York City Public Schools, yet during the tenure of Mayoral Control over City schools class sizes have continued to grow despite concerns from parents, educators, and school administrators. This concern is not without merit, as the New York Times recently highlighted in “For San Diego Schools, a Fear That Larger Classes will Hinder Learning,” which I have included with this letter. This article illustrates the points that my office, and other concerned parties have been asserting for years: smaller class sizes work best for younger students, increases student participation and engagement, allows for individualized attention between students and instructors, and indicates a decrease in disciplinary problems.
While I may disagree with some of the Department of Education’s methods I truly believe our goal is the same: to allow the students of New York City Public Schools to receive a world class education which will allow them to pursue careers and higher education. This goal cannot be met without decreasing class sizes, and certainly will not be reached by re-arranging more students into schools that cannot accommodate the number of students already attending. We cannot cut costs at the expense of New York City Public School Children’s access to a quality education. I would like to further discuss alternative options to re-zoning as well as necessary efforts to decrease class sizes with you. Please feel free to contact myself or my Chief of Staff Matthew Borden at 212-674-5153, to arrange a meeting.
Deborah J. Glick, New York State Assembly Member, 66th District