It's teacher hunting season!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shame of the City I: record overcrowding: the flipside of refusal to hire teachers

Record numbers of classes are experienced overcrowding.
From the Queens Gazette, "Queens High Schools Reported 3,399 Oversize Classes, With Forest Hills Topping The List," September 23, 2009
As the 2009-2010 school year began, almost 7,500 classes in the city’s elementary, intermediate and high schools exceeded the contracted class size limit, leaving an estimated 225,000 students in an oversize class for all or part of each day, according to a survey by the United Federation of Teachers of its members.

The annual survey found that as September 18, 2009 there were at least 1,969 oversize classes in elementary, middle and intermediate schools. With at least 5,450 such classes in high schools the current total of oversize classes is 7,419.

Queens high schools had 3,399 oversize classes . . .

Come on! Let's do the math, and use some common sense. Classes are crowded because the city has not hired enough teachers. (More teachers = more classes = less crowded classrooms, for a better experience for students.) Yet, the city has maintained an ideology that older teachers (and well-paid) are bad. And suddenly the Department of Education is supposedly trying to reverse its gears and hire experienced teachers. Yet, as earlier posts this week reported, the number of ATRs seeking classrooms far exceed the number of the posts that principals were willing to publicly interview for.


Beth Fertig at WNYC closed her article ("Teacher Union: Overcrowding Worse Than Estimated", September 21, 2009) with the typical NYC Department of Education response to overcrowding:
The department of education says it still expects class sizes to drop as enrollment stabilizes. It says only 20 percent of class size grievances last year reached an arbitrator.

As I have stated earlier the media has a responsibility to exercise some critical thinking. They need to probe the city: just what is involved in "stabilizing" the classes??

At worst, this is a worst, students will give up and drop out (not show up). The better scenario is the that the city will actually hire more teachers and create more classes.

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