Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Incredible Non-Shrinking Classroom

It seems that the city has been making a push to reduce class size. I haven't really noticed, as the only push I've been involved with lately is shoving another desk into my classroom. Given its current success rate, if the city decides to continue its reduction plan, I may have to suspend a desk from the florescent lights.

In any case, it seems that the governor's proposed budget plan is bad news. Mayor Mike has said as much, lamenting that the budget cuts would result in fewer teachers and larger class sizes. I think we can take the mayor at his word, considering his utter failure to reduce class size even when awarded CFE funds earmarked for that very purpose.

We should not be too harsh on the mayor. He has made some effort to reduce class size. For example, a number of schools have added seats by eliminating such unnecessary items as school libraries. DOE spokesman William Haveman said in the Daily News that, "We strongly discourage schools from converting their library into classroom space, but we know that in rare cases, principals may temporarily have to do so." This is so rare that a mere 17,000 students in 42 schools in the Bronx are without a library.

Fortunately, most of these schools are in poverty ridden neighborhoods, thus eliminating the chance that any children of DOE brass are zoned for them.

If you're interested in class size, I urge you to visit Leonie Haimson's site at I discourage you from trying to access the site from your school's library, however, as it may not exist.

1 comment:

NYC Educator said...

It's nice to read about class size, one of the things that could really transform education for city kids, which has been unceremoniously swept under the rug by the Tweedies all these years. I had hopes that things would change as a result of the CFE lawsuit, but how could I have known the mayor, after greatly reducing the reward as a result of his utter unwillingness to contribute, would take the money and use it for whatever the hell he felt like?

Let's not forget our great leader, Ms. Weingarten, who enabled the Mayor with an agreement that called for no consequence for failure, as well as her consistent refusal to renegotiate class size in the UFT contract, the only instrument that actually controls it.