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Leonie Haimson is a tireless advocate for small class size. At the drop of a hat, she will recite the research showing the value of small classes, especially for the neediest children.
She just published an article showing how New York City can afford to reduce class sizes.
She identifies the specific ways that the city can shift funds to reduce class sizes.
The New York City Department of Education has lost 74 employees to the novel coronavirus, including 30 teachers and 28 paraprofessionals who have died as of May 8. Evidence has also emerged that children can develop serious illnesses after being infected with the virus, and even those who are asymptomatic are often effective transmitters.
Now that both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have wisely decided that our public schools will be closed through the end of June, it is time to start thinking about how they will be reopened in the fall to maximize the health and safety of students and staff, and strengthen the academic and emotional support that our students will need to make up for the myriad losses they have suffered this year.
As Mayor de Blasio has said, “Next school year will have to be the greatest academic school year New York City will ever have because everyone is going to be playing catch up.” And yet he has also proposed over $800 million in reductions to the Department of Education, including staffing freezes and at least $140 million taken directly out of school budgets, which would likely cause class sizes to grow even larger, the loss of school counselors and more.
How could next year be the best year ever, given such drastic reductions? In fact, our schools will need increased investments to provide the enhanced feedback and engagement that students will so desperately need after months of isolation and inadequate remote learning.