by on April 16, 2018

Leonie Haimson (l.), executive director of Class Size Matters, said the city has increased class sizes, ignoring a 2007 law requiring lower class sizes.

Advocates and city parents have filed a lawsuit calling on state Education Department officials and city schools Chancellor Richard Carranza to reduce class sizes in the public schools.

The suit filed in Albany State Supreme Court Thursday was brought by advocates with Class Size Matters, the Alliance for Quality Education and nine parents from all five New York City boroughs.

It claims the state and city Education officials have ignored a 2007 law called the Contract for Excellence that required the city to lower class sizes.

Class Size Matters founder Leonie Haimson said the city has instead increased class sizes, with nearly one-third of all students in classes of 30 or more children.

“It is unconscionable that the state and the city have flouted the law and are subjecting over 290,000 students to overcrowded classes of 30 students or more,” said Haimson, citing a Class Size Matters analysis of city Education Department data.

The lawsuit calls on city schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza (pictured) and Education Department officials to decrease public school class sizes.

According to Haimson, a plan the city created in 2007 aimed to reduce the number of students in classrooms from 20 to 25, depending on the grade.

But city Education Department statistics show the current average class size across all grades is 26.1 students.

Studies have shown that smaller class sizes lead to better academic results for students and efforts to reduce class sizes have enjoyed broad support from city educators.

And local politicians, including Public Advocate Letitia James, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and City Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm, all issued statements in support of the suit.

Studies have shown that smaller class sizes lead to better academic results for students.

State Education Department officials declined to comment on the suit, citing a policy against speaking about active litigation.

City Education Department spokesman Michael Aciman said the city has invested $6.5 billion to create more than 46,600 classroom seats in overcrowded areas.

“We are committed to addressing overcrowding across this city and have invested significant resources to increase seat capacity and reduce class size,” Aciman said.

“As a result of this work, average class size across the city has decreased from 26.4 students per class in the 2015-16 school year to 26.1 this year,” he said.

By Ben Chapman

Posted in: Education
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