Amazing hearings on Friday & next steps to help us achieve smaller classes for NYC kids

The class size hearings at City Hall on Friday were so overcrowded that it was standing room only. Sadly, many people weren’t allowed in the room, and many left before speaking.

Among those educators, parents, students and advocates who managed to speak, many gave tremendously stirring testimony about how much their opportunities had been unfairly restricted by the excessive class sizes in NYC public schools. They explained how much better our schools would be if the DOE prioritized class size reduction over the current emphasis on more testing and bureaucracy, and how smaller classes could also save millions in terms of special education costs as well as cut down on the school-to-prison pipeline.

I have started to post some of the testimony on my blog, along with a press release with some quotes. I will continue to add excerpts from the hearings over the next few days. Chalkbeat and NY1 also reported on the hearings and there is video of the entire six plus hours here.

Especially eloquent was Board of Regents member Kathleen Cashin, who spoke about when she was Superintendent of District 23 in Ocean Hill/Brownsville, she lowered class size in the elementary schools in 1999, and in her words, “the whole world changed.” Children were happy because they were able to form close bonds with their teachers, teachers gained a sense of fulfillment because they could reach all their students for the first time, and the district, one of the poorest in the nation, showed the greatest achievement growth of any in the city.

As Regent Cashin put it, “Poverty is a terrible teacher; and it drains anyone it comes in contact with. But when children have that close connection to a teacher and can get that attention it changes their life.”

If you have testimony that you were unable to give, you can send it until March 4 to; and please copy us at

But whatever else you do, please email Speaker Corey Johnson at; copy Council Education Chair Mark Treyger at and your own Council Member. You can find his or her email address here.  

Urge them to include at least $100 million for class size reduction in the Council response to the Mayor’s budget, and to fight for this in their negotiations, as NYC kids deserve as much of a real chance to learn as students in the rest of the state, whose classes are at least 15-30% smaller.

Be sure to include your address, so your Council Member knows you are a constituent.

Please send an email today, and then let us know by filling out our quick survey.

Thanks as always for your support, Leonie

PS I wrote about our campaign for $100 million for smaller classes in Gotham Gazette; I also had a piece on Michael Bloomberg’s education record in The Indypendent that you might like to check out. But please send those emails first!

Categories Newsletters | Tags: | Posted on March 5, 2020

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