New York, NY — PLACE NYC (Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education) strongly supports the thoughtful and practical recommendations in the Class Size Minority Report “A Better Way, Practical Guidance To Implement the Class Size Law” prepared by elected parent leaders of the Class Size Working Group.
Since July 2022, PLACE NYC leadership has shared our concerns about the Class Size Law, particularly as it impacts access to accelerated programs and academically screened schools. In September 2023, we called upon state legislators to amend the law to exempt high-performing successful schools and classrooms from the implementation of this unfunded Class Size legislation. We believe a one-size-fits-all approach to compliance will hurt advanced learners especially from disadvantaged backgrounds.
PLACE NYC spearheaded an open letter to oppose enrollment caps and cuts to accelerated programs and enrichment offerings. Despite these letters making up 70% of the public comments received by the Working Group, their final report published on December 11, 2023 recommended “enrollment adjustments” (capping) to schools with larger class sizes with no space to comply. So much for parent voices!
The Minority Report lays out recommendations for a pragmatic, phased-in approach, prioritizing resources for K-3 students in the highest economic need index schools with the lowest academic proficiency. Additionally, asking for the build-out of new schools in the most overcrowded districts before making enrollment adjustments or cutting electives and other programs.
PLACE NYC fully supports the Minority Report’s call for immediate amendments to the law. In particular, parents must be included in school exemption requests; currently as written, exemptions can only be done by DOE, UFT (Teachers Union) and CSA (Principals Union). Most importantly for PLACE NYC, the Minority Report outlined that “No enrollment caps should be implemented at any time. Allow parent choice to determine a school’s steady state enrollment levels even as new capacity is made available.”
“As a member of the Class Size Working Group and a proponent of lower class sizes, I felt compelled to dissent to the Working Group’s report, given the lack of pragmatic, actionable recommendations to actually lower class size, while forcing schools and families to make drastic, unacceptable trade-offs, including the inequitable transfer of resources away from low-income schools. Members of the Working Group refused to entertain even discussion of strengthening the law via targeted amendments, and continue to rely on non-substantive, ad hominem attacks on anyone who questions it. We hope our legislators will read this Minority Report and see how they may realistically achieve the spirit of the law by amending the letter of the law.”, said Deborah Alexander, PLACE NYC leader and a member of the Class Size Working Group who co-authored the Minority Report.
PLACE NYC encourages NYC Public Schools to adopt the phased-in recommendations outlined in the Minority Report to implement the Class Size reduction law. We also call upon Senator John Liu, the sponsor of this law, and all state legislators to read the Minority Report and amend the law as suggested in the upcoming 2024 legislative session.