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Class size transparency bill not feasible in New York City / U.S. Department of Agriculture (Source) | U.S. Department of Agriculture

The New York City Council passed a bill that will force the Department of Education to be more transparent about public school class sizes in New York City on March 19. The passing of the bill is superficial and unhelpful in the face of the real issues educators and students face at NYC schools daily.

In 2022, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law that limited the number of students in K-12 classes to 20-25 students.

According to DOE officials, the smaller class sizes will benefit children, as well as create more funding for teachers, classrooms and other programs. The bill passed by the City Council is aimed to help further implement the legislation passed by Hochul.

Officials have repeatedly argued that the bill will require a significant amount of more teachers across hundreds of schools, something the city budget will struggle to support.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and his administration weren’t taking the necessary steps to help comply with class reduction. Adams and New York City Schools Chancellor, David Banks both pushed for more funding to help the city comply with the legislation. However, state lawmakers argued they had already provided enough funding for implementation, and questioned where the money was going, especially after Adams’ budget cuts.

Additionally, a working group consisting of educators, parents and advocates created a list of recommendations that could help the city comply with the law, which was ignored by the Adams administration.

This highlights Adams’ inability to properly guide officials to enact the legislation. It is frustrating not only to educators and parents but to officials as well, as echoed by City Council Education Committee Chair, Rita Joseph.

“So here’s my issue. The people that are making the decisions have never taught in New York City schools,” Joseph said at a hearing. “Class size does matter – it matters to me and it matters to all of my educators across the city. In order for us to get it right, we also need people at the table, and that’s why we have the working group. That’s why I’m a little bothered that some of the recommendations were not applied.”

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