Letters to the Editor

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The New York Sun

‘Mixed Signal Sent As Spitzer Dodges A Teachers Event’

In regard to Jacob Gershman’s article, [“Mixed Signal Sent As Spitzer Dodges A Teachers Event,” September 5, 2006], the research showing that smaller classes raise student achievement is stronger than nearly any other educational reform. In fact, the federal government cites class size reduction as one of only four “evidence-based” strategies that rigorous evidence has shown to improve learning. (See “Identifying and Implementing Educational Practices Supported by Rigorous Evidence: a User friendly Guide,” December 2003, U.S. Department of Education, ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/rigorousevid/index.

Yet according to an audit released last year by the State Comptroller, 60% of New York City children in grades K-3 are in classes larger than the state goal of twenty, and 26% of them are in classes of 25 students or more. This is despite $89 million in annual state funds that have been given the city to reduce class size since 2001. The State Comptroller also found that if the city had been using these funds correctly, class sizes in grades K-3 would now be down to 19.1 students on average.

The article also didn’t mention class sizes in the middle and upper grades, where NYC classes are among the largest in the nation, averaging 28 to 30 students, and often 34 or more. Yet the Mayor plans to use only 2% of the additional funds owed our schools as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case to reduce class size, and would lower average class size in no grade higher than third — despite the Court of Appeals finding that classes were too large in all grades to provide students with their constitutional right to an adequate education.

Class Size Matters
New York, N.Y.

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