Congressman Crowley Calls For $10 Billion Investment to Build New Schools for Communities in Need

June 5, 2018
Press Release

(Queens, NY) – Today, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced legislation to invest $10 billion toward building new schools to address chronic overcrowding in primary, middle, and high schools.

The School Overcrowding Reduction Act is part of Congressman Crowley’s Better Deal for Queens and the Bronx, a comprehensive plan put forward by Congressman Crowley to improve the lives of families, working men and women, and students in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

“Our nation’s students deserve a world-class education, but we have failed to allocate the resources necessary for them to flourish,” said Congressman Crowley. “My district is home to some of the most overcrowded schools in the country, including Corona, Queens, where there is a need for more than 5,000 additional classroom seats. There’s no time to waste on half-measures. Surely if my Republican colleagues can spend $2.3 trillion doling out tax breaks to the 1 percent, we can invest a fraction of that into the next generation of American innovators and leaders.”

“Students succeed when they’re in schools equipped with the resources, tools and conditions that promote high-quality teaching and learning,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “The teacher walkouts this year in Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia and elsewhere made clear that putting public education on the budgetary chopping block has resulted in overcrowded classrooms nationwide, making it more difficult for educators to effectively reach individual students and cater to diverse needs. More than a quarter of states lack class-size restrictions, yet state governments are still failing to budget for new schools and additional teachers. This bill does just that. Lowering class size is crucial to student success, and we’re proud to support Rep. Crowley’s legislation. It seeks to meet a critical need in our public schools, investing much-needed dollars in overcrowded districts and reducing student-to-teacher ratios specifically in disadvantaged communities.”

“The Rebuild America’s School Infrastructure Coalition (BASIC) is pleased that Cong. Crowley is showing the leadership needed to address overcrowding in our nation’s public schools,” said Mary Filardo, Executive Director of the 21stCentury School Fund. “The recent protests by teachers all across the country is an expression of the growing frustration they feel about their working conditions and the state of their school facilities. Many Classrooms are over crowded and crowded conditions make unhealthy classroom environments even worse. We appreciate Cong. Crowley’s recognition that over crowding in our nation’s public schools is also an equity issue – giving every child the opportunity to have a first class education.”

“Here in New York City, about 300,000 students are in classes of 30 or more, and more than half a million are crammed into overcrowded school buildings, said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters. “Yet the city’s capital plan is only half-funded. One cannot ensure either educational equity or excellence under these conditions. This bill will provide critical federal funds to help alleviate overcrowding and excessive class sizes in NYC and the nation as a whole.”

This legislation would invest $10 billion in federal funding for new school construction to reduce the number of overcrowded schools in areas like New York City and help students succeed. Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education shows that class-size reduction can significantly improve student performance and additional studies show that smaller classrooms allow teachers to better accommodate the unique learning styles of their students.

New York City classrooms have become overly crowded in the past two decades. Some of the largest classrooms in New York City, which boast more than 30 students per class, are located in Queens and the Bronx. According to the NYC DOE, the city’s largest 6th grade classes are all located in the Bronx and Queens is home to the largest class sizes for grades K-3.

Chairman Crowley has championed policies that support our nation’s students and teachers throughout his time in Congress. Last month, he introduced legislation to combat noise pollution in schools, an issue that acutely impacts New York City schoolchildren. In April, Chairman Crowley advocated for additional funding for federal aid programs that benefit low-income college students in the 2019 government funding bill. He has also partnered with local elected officials to ensure the needs of students living in Queens and the Bronx are fully satisfied.

Chairman Crowley’s Better Deal plan for Queens and the Bronx can be read here.

Categories Press Releases | Tags: | Posted on June 6, 2018

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