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Number of Students in Classrooms of 30 or More Has Tripled, Says Lander Report

Classroom overcrowding is on the rise in the city, with fourth and fifth graders most likely to be in full classrooms.

The number of elementary school students in classes of 30 or more has tripled in the last three years because of budget cuts and lack of teachers, according to a new report released by Council Member Brad Lander, D-Park Slope, says the New York Times’ School Book blog.

Lander’s report found that 31,079 students in first through fifth grade were now in large classes, as opposed to only 9,756 in the 2008-9 school year, says the article, also finding that fourth graders and fifth graders are the most likely to be in large classes.

School Book says that, according to Lander’s report, about 14 percent of current fourth graders are in classes of 30 or more students, compared with 5.5 percent during the 2008-9 school year. The article add that, of fifth graders, about 17 percent were in large classes, compared with 6.5 percent three years ago. The class-size limit for both grades is 32 students, which is set by the city and the teachers’ union.

Lander’s 39th Council District, which includes Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, still fares better than the rest of the city when it comes to class sizes, says the blog.

In Staten Island, 20 percent of all elementary school students were in classes of at least 30 students, in Coney Island and Brighton Beach, 19 percent were in large classes, and in Queen’s District 24, which includes Corona, Maspeth, Middle Village and other neighborhoods, 18 percent were in oversized classes, says School Book.

Jenny March 27, 2012 at 04:37 PM
This is a number that all parents should be very concerned about . It makes it so difficult for the teachers to do a good job.
Bee March 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM
I concur with you Jenny! Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg, who has control of NYC schools, doesn't feel the same way. He thinks if you have a "really good teacher," up to 60 kids in a class is o.k. There is another problem occurring in the NYC public school system, overcrowded schools. Some of these overcrowded schools are due to co-locations. Some of these co-locations are due to Bloomberg's big push for charter schools. It's very demoralizing for teachers and parents these days!
Anthony March 28, 2012 at 09:58 PM
As long as Mayor Bloomberg is in charge of the DOE, schools are a business, not an educational institution.
Curiositykilledthecat March 29, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Bridget, can you reference a specific school or schools that have been crowded beyond capacity due to co-location with a charter school?
Bee March 30, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Certainly, Curiosity! However let me expand on the problems with co-location in general first. One of the problems is that co-locations are an impediment to the original school's expansion. An example of this is IS 211 in Canarsie, an A rated school that wanted to expand, but is unable to because Leadership Prep is co-locating in the building. There are a zillion stories in the media about the issues of co-location and charters. Most charters are co-located in public school buildings. Pave Charter school is in PS15 in Brooklyn. Coney Island Prep Public Charter School is colocated on a building with IS 303 and Rachel Carson High School. The DOE people who decide on how space is used/parceled out are not looking at it from an educational perspective, the are looking at it from a monetary perspective.
Bee March 30, 2012 at 02:49 AM
And let's not forget about the chain charter schools like the Success Academies and the like. You can read about these issues in all of the papers/blogs including Gotham Schools, Ed Notes, Schools Matter, The New York Times, The Daily News and so on. It's really a matter of common sense though. Imagine if you had to share your house all of a sudden with another family, and you were told that it was perfectly feasible that there was enough space because 2 of your 3 children had moved out. Now how would they divide your house, to ensure that there would be room for 2 kitchens , 4 bathrooms, and oops, they didn't keep in mind that you needed that office because you worked from home. And just before this happens, you find out that one of your children wants to move back home with her partner. Too bad, they say. This family is moving in... and so on. I guess what I mean to say is that "capacity" is a relative thing.
Jim March 30, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Seems to me that a thoughtful approach could help make co-location work. For example, why can't the two "families" share a kitchen? Its not a simple problem, but our school system for too long failed the city's children and citizens and contributed to the exodus of millions of middle-class residents. I may not like everything Bloomberg says or does, but I would much rather have the school system under the Mayor's control (at least I have SOME say in who is Mayor) than have it be under the control of a nameless, faceless bureaucrat who answers to no one except Albany politicians and the teachers' union.
Curiositykilledthecat March 30, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Bridget, what do you mean that the City is looking at it from a monetary perspective? What I think they are looking at is there is empty space going to waste in X school, and here are some students who can fill that space. So, yes, from that perspective, I would hope that my City would do the financially responsible thing and put that space to use, rather than building new buildings. And, charter schools are public schools, and their students deserve a seat in a public school building. In response to your metaphor, then, if I had to share my house with people who also owned it--it wouldn't be easy, but I would figure it out.
Bee March 31, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Actually, Curiosity, despite the fact that charter schools receive taxpayer funds, they are NOT public schools. One wonders what sound educational reasoning there is behind charter schools. Since charter schools, as a whole, do not perform better than public schools as a whole, since they serve far fewer ELL and special education students, and since they are often often given a 5 year charter and public school space without the backing, support of neighborhood communities, and they cause stress on neighborhood public schools, one has to realize that charters are neither beneficial educationally, nor financially. So no, I certainly don't think that charter students deserve a seat in public school buildings at the expense of public school students. One is of the premises for charters is that they are supposedly more autonomous. If they are to be "autonomous," don't you think they should budget themselves a separate school space?
Bee March 31, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Jim, I would much rather have educators making decisions about education than one politician/autocrat who has no professional credentials or expertise in the field of education and who has installed 3 chancellors who had no professional credentials or expertise in the field of education. His fourth choice has some qualifications, but also had to receive a waiver from NYS because he too lacked credentials. Bloomberg has been very successful in destroying NYC public schools.
Curiositykilledthecat March 31, 2012 at 02:10 PM
We certainly will be unable to engage in thoughtful discourse if we cannot agree on the basic facts of the situation. Charter schools are public schools that are publically-funded, chartered by a public entitity, and attended, for free, by public school students. From the NY State Education Department website: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/psc/about.html "Charter schools are publicly funded and open to all students in New York State through a non-discriminatory admissions lottery. Each charter school is governed by a not-for-profit board of trustees which may include educators, community members, and leaders from the private sector. Charters have freedom to establish their own policies, design their own educational program, and manage their human and financial resources. Charter schools are accountable, through the terms of a five-year performance contract, for high student achievement." I will be happy to engage more regarding the educational efficacy of charters, etc, but there is really no point if we aren't working from the same basic facts.
Bee March 31, 2012 at 03:32 PM
O.K. Curiosity, I concede that I was arguing about semantics in reference to your calling charters, public schools. While, as stated they are publicly funded, there are legal reasons that they are not called public schools. I have looked, read and listened to a plethora of arguments, studies and discussions from many perspectives. I am well aware that there are two sides to every story. After what I've learned about charters as a whole, I truly believe that they are more of a problem than a solution. I do not deny that are and have been many problems with public education in New York City, I think that Bloomberg's policies (including his penchant for charters, high-stakes test culture, neglect and assault on neighborhood public schools, punitive treatment of teachers to name a few) have worsened the existing problems. Again, I have looked at both sides of the story, and I do consider myself informed. I think there are too many unresolved issues pertaining to charters and that it is irresponsible to continue authorizing them until some of the biggest issues are resolved. I suspect that I will not change each others minds about this, but I do respect the fact that you attempted to engage in thoughtful discourse with me. Peace, Bridget
Curiositykilledthecat March 31, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Bridget, :) First, sending you peace also. I appreciate that our discussion hasn't devolved to name-calling. To further demonstrate that we will not change one another's minds on this point, I have to respond to your latest statement that "there are legal reasons that they are not called public schools." Untrue. There are policitcal and philosophical reasons that some folks will not call charter schools, public schools. But they are public schools, and here are a bunch of links to various groups that refer to charters by their rightful designation: http://www.nyccharterschools.org/ (top right corner: "It's about great public schools.") http://www.kipp.org/?gclid=CPnxv4nBka8CFcjb4Aodqy9_-Q (middle of the page, on the left) http://www.uncommonschools.org/ (middle of the page) http://www.dcpubliccharter.com/ (the very name of this association has public in it) The refusal of charter opponents to acknowledge that these are public schools that serve public school students kills the discussion before it can even start. Take care.
Parksloper April 01, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Public School unions and the DOE will not support Charter schools because they are not unionized. Simple. I say the more schools the better and educators should too. Public School Unions and the DOE have destroyed the school system and our children's education. For years they've hindered the firing of teachers, putting them in rubber rooms on the tax payers dollar. They've advanced students who needed to be kept back all in the name of making poor Johnny feel good. No red x's on your test paper, can't hurt his psyche. They've received billions in aid, just NY alone, and we're still way behind other countries in test scoring. Growing up there used to be neighborhood schools, where more parents got involved since the school was in their community. Today some young kids have to take a bus and a train to get to their school. Recently, the DOE in their infinite wisdom has come out with 50 forbidden words for standardized tests. Really. You think that is what is important for our children to compete in this world? Our kids are doomed. Send your child to Catholic, Private or Charter Schools, anything but public, for a sound education. War On Words: NYC Dept. Of Education Wants 50 ‘Forbidden’ Words Banned From Standardized Tests http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/03/26/war-on-words-nyc-dept-of-education-wants-50-forbidden-words-removed-from-standardized-tests/
Parksloper April 01, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Oh, and the fact that there is a school named after a fraud, Rachel Carson, speaks volumes: The Lies of Rachel Carson by Dr. J. Gordon Edwards Gordon Edwards, professor of entomology at San Jose State University in California, has taught biology and entomology there for 43 years. He is a long-time member of the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society and is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/summ02/Carson.html

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