July 7, 2016
1. Yesterday, the Education Law Center released a new report detailing growing class sizes in NYC schools, with 95% of K-3 students enrolled in schools missing the Contract for Excellence goals of 20 students per class, originally established by the city and state. In other grades, the city is also missing the targets for the vast majority of students. The report demonstrates that class sizes were largest in the early grades on average in Queens and Staten Island, and Asian students and English Language Learners were most likely to be disadvantaged by large classes in these grades. Students enrolled in large high schools were far more likely to be enrolled in larger classes on average than those enrolled in small high schools.
The report also urged the city to issue a class size reduction plan with specific annual goals, focused first on the lower grades and schools with the most low-income students, and then to extend the reductions citywide, expanding school construction to make this possible. The report also urged the NY State Education Department to disapprove any city plan that does not include a comprehensive plan to achieve specific targets in specific schools with sufficient funds to achieve them. There were other recommendations as well, including that more support and resources should be provided to advocates and stakeholder groups to encourage activism on this critical issue. Newsclips here: Chalkbeat, Daily News.
2. The importance of class size, and the overwhelming research that shows its myriad benefits to students was summarized in this recent brief from the National Education Policy Center. Check it out! The fact that this administration is ignoring research and its legal obligations under state law is a serious strike against them – and a huge loss for NYC kids. But we’re not giving up until our students get the schools and the class sizes they deserve. If you’d like to contribute to our efforts, please do so here.
3. Videos of speeches by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Diane Ravitch and Juan Gonzalez from last month’s Skinny award dinner, talking about our work and their tremendous dedication to NYC public schools, are posted on our blog here.
Hope you’re having a good summer and keep cool!
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