Monday, March 26, 2007

"Smaller Classes Will Pay Big Dividends" - Daily News Op Ed

Writing in today's Daily News, Leonie Haimson, who blogs here at NYC Public School Parents, makes the case for smaller classes and combats the disinformation on this topic routinely offered by the Administration. As you read, it's helpful to have some concrete examples of how the Mayor's policies deny our children smaller classes.

Here is the story of a successful school, PS132, in the burgeoning neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The school looked to the DoE to help find space for its growing student body but found little support. From the NY Metro:
According to parents and staffers, the Dept. of Education has suggested the school may eventually need to end third, fourth and fifth grade altogether or consolidate the classes, upping the number of students in a class from 25 to 33. Teachers, however, say that would strain their approach, in which students sit in small groups on rugs and get individual instruction.
It's not just individual schools getting the brush-off. Queens Assemblyman Ivan C. Lafayette issued a press release following his disappointing meeting with Schools Chancellor Joel Klein on crowded schools in his district. Lafayette criticized Klein's failure to utilize the generous school construction funding made available by the Legislature. We covered this story in a post last week.

A number of PTA and citywide elected parent organizations have placed the DoE's failure to address class size at the center of their opposition to the latest reorganization. Consider the resolution issued by the Citywide Council on High Schools, which echoes the language of Stuyvesant High School's resolution.

Finally, parents have complained loudly and in person about class size problems in their schools. See our post on Joel Klein's visit to Staten Island or his series of sessions across the city.

It is clear that the Mayor and Chancellor will not address overcrowding. But parents who want smaller classes for their children can take the opportunity to appeal directly to the Governor and State Legislature.

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