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Smaller Classrooms Mean More Teachers for NYC Schools

November 29, 2007

New York, NY - New York City administrators and educators are busy seeking strategies to implement the state's proposals for smaller class sizes, more teachers, and more classroom space. The plan could mean new capital investments, as well as an increase in the ranks of the city's teacher corps. Ronald Davis with the United Federation of Teachers says his union and the board agree in principle with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity's "roadmap" to smaller classes released earlier this week.

"The report shows what the city could do to address the class size issue using existing capacity. We're hopeful that the Department of Education will utilize some of the recommendations in the report."

Davis says the combination of more teachers and smaller classes means greater success for the city's underachieving students.

"When you have one teacher dealing with 35 to 40 students, he or she obviously can't give them all the attention that they need. If we can get our class sizes down to 24 students, we'll be able to give them a lot more time addressing their needs."

Part of the cost could be covered by money allocated by the legislature in 2006. Meanwhile, the Board of Education is collating its latest data with the Campaign's classroom roadmap, and is expected to make its own recommendations about space and staffing within the next few weeks.

In a written statement today, the Board said it is "happy to consider the recommendations" and is devoting $153 million to class size reduction for the highest-need students and schools. That's half of the city's allocation from the excellence contracts. So far, the Board has created more than 925 new classrooms this year and hired more than 1,300 additional teachers.

Robert Knight/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NY