Thursday, July 29, 2021

NYC Council Introduces New Class Size Reduction Bill

Earlier today, City Council Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger and Council Speaker Corey Johnson introduced new legislation which would effectively reduce class sizes by updating NYC’s Administrative Code.

The bill (Int. No. 2374) will raise the minimum per person classroom space to 35 square feet per student from the current 20 square feet for grades 1–12, phased in over three years, starting in the fall of 2022. The legislation would allow class sizes no larger than about 14 kids in a 500 square ft. classroom, and no more than 21 in a 750 sq. ft room, with all schools in NYC to be compliant by September 2024.

During a press conference announcing the legislation, CM Treyger was joined by CM Daniel Dromm and UFT President Michael Mulgrew. (In the video, you can hear the nearby chanting of a rally on the homelessness issue.)

Treyger, a former public school teacher, noted that the impacted section of the code hasn’t been updated since the 1930s, and emphasized the importance of reducing class size for public health, saying, “We are still facing a serious pandemic and there is an increasing possibility that COVID variants will be with us for years to come. To help make sure that public school classrooms remain safe places, we need stricter space limits for all students, not just the city’s youngest.”

NYC Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm, also a former public school teacher, spoke on the importance of reducing class sizes for both learning outcomes and public health, saying, “The incorporation of a smaller class size will ultimately benefit the future learning and health of all NYC school children. Due to overcrowding in many districts such as mine, this initiative will be challenging but also worthwhile. I look forward to passing this legislation."

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