Once-in-a-generation chance to reduce class sizes
The pandemic has laid bare the inequities within our school system and the challenges we face. No policy change would have a greater impact on our public schools than reducing class sizes. Not only are overcrowded classrooms an issue of public health as we saw during COVID, but class size significantly affects the ability of educators to meet both the academic needs and the social and emotional needs of their students. Elected officials must make the policy changes needed to reduce class sizes in New York City public schools and bring them in line with class sizes across the rest of the state. We can no longer delay making the real changes our school communities need to recover and thrive.
Join your fellow UFT members in fighting for what #OurKidsNeed
The time is now.
“If we cannot finally agree as a city in the middle of a pandemic that we need a plan to lower our class size, I don’t know where we’re ever going to get to it,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew
It’s a public health issue
We must learn from the pandemic and take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses in the future. It’s time to establish safe classroom occupancy limits.
It’s an equity issue
On average, NYC class sizes are 15% to 30% larger than the rest of state. Why is it the norm for kids in private schools and the suburbs to have small classes, but not our kids?
We have the space
Based on COVID school-by-school square footage, we estimate 84% of schools have the space right now, as we speak.
This rebuilds trust
Chancellor Banks has spoken about losing 120,000 students over the past 5 years, and the need to re-build trust. This is the way to do it. Every parent, every neighborhood, every demographic understands how this is a game changer for their children.
We can no longer accept “this isn’t possible”
We have seen the city rally to do tremendous things when it makes them a priority. We need to make our schools and our children the priority.
We have the funds to do it
There is still nearly $5 billion out of $7.6 billion that has not yet been spent from the Education Federal Stimulus. For the first time in decades, we have a significant amount of federal and state education aid that could be used to hire the staff and secure the space to lower class sizes in every school.
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What city educators are saying about smaller class sizes
- “It's often frustrating to recognize how overcrowded classrooms limit our options in trying to reach every child to thoroughly meet their learning needs. Smaller class sizes for our city's public schools would reduce the risk of overlooking students with profound learning challenges or untapped potential.”
— Greg Monte, Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, Brooklyn
- "My students have so much potential that at times it's hard to identify it in a classroom with 27 other children."
— Faiza Khalid, PS 36, Manhattan
- “Having a reduced class size would not only benefit the general education student but even more so those who have IEPs or are ENL students. Less students would mean more support for students that really need it."
— Melissa Alvarez, John Bowne, HS, Queens
- “Smaller classes would allow teachers to give their students more targeted instruction. Teachers are stretched thin every day to meet the academic needs of their students and with smaller class sizes we can make a more meaningful impact in the lives of students.”
— Katherine Peña, PS 150, The Bronx