Dear Commons Community,
The number of elementary school students in classes of 30 or more has tripled in the last three years because of teacher attrition and budget cuts to public schools, according to a report released on Monday by a city councilman. According to an article in the online edition of the New York Times:
“Using data from the city’s Department of Education, the report found that 31,079 students in first through fifth grade were now in large classes, compared with 9,756 in the 2008-9 school year…Fourth graders and fifth graders are most likely to be in large classes, according to the report, released by Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn. Of current fourth graders, about 14 percent are in classes of 30 or more students, compared with 5.5 percent during the 2008-9 school year. 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, set by the city and the teachers’ union, is 32 students…
Despite a 2007 commitment the city made to reduce class size across all grades, in exchange for more state funding, class sizes have increased in recent years, erasing early gains made during the Bloomberg administration.
Over the last three years, the city has lost 5,300 teachers to attrition and five consecutive rounds of cuts to schools’ budgets, a result of the national recession and decreases in state funding — though the overall budget for city schools has grown.”