Wednesday, October 28, 2020

CM Treyger urges the DOE to report class sizes on Nov. 15 as legally required, disaggregated this year according to the type of class

Update 11/16/2020: DOE just responded to CM Treyger’s October 15 letter to say they will delay the release of class size data that was due November 15 until Dec. 31, and any disaggregated data until Feb. 15.  More on this here.

Last week, Council Education Chair Mark Treyger wrote a letter to Chancellor Carranza urging him to report on school-specific and citywide class size averages as the law requires on Nov. 15, and also to disagregate the data bgy type of instruction used: either in-person learning, remote classes for blended learning students, and remote classes for full-time remote students.   His letter is here and below and here is a Chalkbeat article about this issue.

Disaggregating the data is critical, because as the letter points out, in-person classes have been extremely small for the purpose of social distancing, while some online learning classes have been reported by parents to be as large as 60-100 students or more.  See recent articles in NY Post, WSJ and Gothamist about this issue.

Randi Levine at Advocates for Children also testified to the fact that children with IEPs requiring class sizes of no more than 12 students per class have experienced class sizes twice or three times as large.

Averaging across all three types of classes would tend to obscure just how large the online classes really are.  Though we have little research showing how to make remote learning more successful and engaging, some educators have noted thatlimiting class sizes may be even more important online than in the physical classroom...On Zoom, for example, it is helpful for a teacher to be able to see all of their students’ faces at once, instead of having to scroll through multiple screens.”

Two prominent researchers have written that it's important to "lower online-class sizes. Common sense suggests that smaller groups and lower student-adult ratios can help increase interactive opportunities.”

On Monday, at the Mayor's press conference, the Chancellor did say that schools have been reporting attendance data in "literally three buckets of attendance every single day": in-person classes, remote blended learning classes, and full-time remote classes.  So reporting the class size data in these three separate categories should not be difficult for them to do.

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