Tuesday, November 27

CFE: City can reduce class size at struggling schools if it wants to

A week after hearing that money it won for the city would finally be on its way, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity has issued recommendations on how to reduce class size in struggling schools. In a report, "A Seat of One's Own: Class Size Reduction in the Lowest Performing Schools in New York City," CFE shows that the city's capital plan falls far short of funding the number of classrooms that will need to be created to drop class sizes at schools on the state's list of those in need of improvement.

Of the 408 schools on the list, CFE found that class size can be reduced immediately at 152 schools and that 43 other low-performing schools can drop class size if they put in place adjustments such as creating annexes or improving the way schools within a building share space. (View geographical maps with school-by-school recommendations.) Beyond that, however, the city would need to add more than 1,500 new classrooms to help the remaining 122 schools that do not already have reduced class size. But the city's capital plan provides only 680 new classrooms, and the DOE is planning to hire only 1,300 new teachers.

With its focus on the lowest-performing schools, the CFE report doesn't even begin to address the investment that will be required to reduce class sizes at the two-thirds of schools not considered failing, many of which are seriously overcrowded. As Class Size Matters's Leonie Haimson has noted, the DOE has not yet released current data about class size citywide; the DOE says the information will be released by Dec. 18.

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