Saturday, September 15, 2007

Assembly Leader Lafayette: "Klein is still giving State Education Department the runaround"

On Thursday, the Queens Times published a lengthy letter from Deputy Assembly Speaker Ivan C. Lafayette which was highly critical of DOE's failure to provide the State Education Department with an acceptable plan for reducing class sizes. Here's an excerpt:

Despite all of the rhetoric coming from City Hall and Chancellor Joel Klein, they have made it clear that there are no plans in the immediate future to utilize any of the additional state funding to reduce class size. As of this writing, the city has still yet to come up with a plan on how to reduce class size. Did I mention that the contracts for excellence were supposed to be concluded by mid-August? Because of the irresponsible stubbornness of city Department of Education, we have already started the new school year and there are many more children who are being forced to try achieve more, but under even worse conditions. The budget was enacted on April 1st of this year, with New York City schools receiving $714 million more than last year. Six months later, Chancellor Klein is still giving the State Education Department the runaround. The current school year has already started and a plan is still not in place. It is an absolute slap in the face to the students and teachers who are still working and trying to teach in overcrowded classrooms.
Lafayette concludes his letter with a condemnation of the Bloomberg administration's woeful record on schools construction:

Figures provided to me from the State Department of Education show just how few new schools have actually been constructed over the last five years in New York City, with a majority of these schools being initiated by the previous administration. The law passed this year authorizes that state to provide New York City with an additional $283 million to carry out the goal of smaller class size. Chancellor Klein’s foot-dragging will not only cost the city money, but also cheat the children out of a quality learning experience.

For the full letter, see the Queens Times.

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