More than 85% of all students in grades K-3 exceed 20 students per class, the level that the citypromised to achieve by 2011 in their Contracts for Excellence plan, 81% students in grades 4-8 exceedthe C4E goals for these grades, and 71% exceed the HS goals of 25.
Why have class sizes increased?
In all cases, class size increases have been driven by DOE decisions and policies:
Repeated budget cuts to NYC public schools have amounted to nearly 14% since 2007. Thesecuts took place even as state aid and overall education spending increased, thereby violating theC4E law t
hat holds that additional funding must be “used to supplement, and not supplant funds”
already allocated by the district. In this case for staffing.
A vast disinvestment in the classroom has occurred, resulting in a sharp reduction in the number of teachers. Meanwhile, thousands of out-of-classroom positions have been added.
In 2010, the city eliminated the Early Grade class size reduction program, which had been in
existence since 1999. This program was cut despite DOE’s promise to retain it in its
state-approvedC4E plan. The failure of the city to implement this program properly had been the subject of severalcritical audits, including the State Comptroller
in 2002 and 2006, and the NYC Comptroller
office in 2009.
We have used the Jan. 30 figures for the 2011-12 school year for grades K-8; but the Oct. 31 figures for high school, asthousands of high school students drop out between October and January. For MS and HS we have used English classes. Seecitywide distribution class size files at <http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/data/classsize/classsize.htm>.
,“Lessons in Austerity: How City Principals Make Budgets Work,”
New York Times
, August 17, 2011.
These positions included additional
principals, secretaries, APs, literacy coaches, etc. Jennifer Medina, “With More Money,City Schools Added Jobs,”
New York Times
, June 30, 2009.
Office of the NY State Comptroller,
Administration And Oversight Of The Early Grade Class Size Reduction Program 2002-S-33
” September 2003
New York City Department Of Education Administration Of The Early Grade ClassSize Reduction Program 2005-N-
3,” March 2006
Office of the NYC Comptroller, “
Audit Report on the Department of Education’s Administration of the Early Grade Class Size Reduction Program,”
For the city’s commitment to keep this program intact in their C4E plan, see this: “In addition, the
Department continues to be committed to reducing class size inthe early grades (i.e., grades K-3) via the Early Grade Class Size Reduction program. This is highlighted by the maintenanceof the $88 million State funded program aid this year despite the f
unding being collapsed into general Foundation Aid.” NYCDepartment of Education, “
Citywide Class Size Reduction Five-Year Plan Five-Year Plan Executive Summary
, September 9,2009; Beth Fertig,
, September 9, 2009;
September 9, 2009; Leonie Haimson,
Class sizeaudit: another broken promi
se to our children,”
NYC Public School Parents
, September 11, 2009.