Monday, January 8, 2007

City Class Sizes are Highest in State

Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters reports:

The DOE finally reported the average HS class size data for each school, as well as for each district, borough and citywide late Friday to the City Council; I just received the file this morning – almost two months past the legal deadline as required by the City Charter.

In December 2005, the Council passed legislation requiring that this information be reported twice a year, on Nov. 15 and Feb. 15.

What it reveals, if the data is accurate, is that the average class sizes citywide in HS range from 27.3 (ninth grade English) to 28.9 (10th grade Social science and Science.) High school class sizes are largest on average in SI and Queens – with most subjects and grades at 29 or 30.

This report also shows that either class sizes have risen dramatically in City schools this year, or that the HS averages as reported in the Mayor’s Management Report have been highly inaccurate – with most years, the city reporting HS instructional class sizes at about 26 (For the latest MMR for FY 06, which reports this figure at 26.2, see

During the current year, there are many schools where the class sizes are ridiculously large – among them, Enterprise, Business and Technology HS in Brooklyn– where 10th and 11th grade English average 43.5-46.5 students per class, and at the Richard Green HS of teaching in Manhattan, where Social studies classes in 10-12th grades average 41.9., 37.5 and 37 students. All these class sizes exceed the contractual limits.

There are also numerous schools on the SINI or failing list where classes are at 30 or larger.

All of these classes are too large to give students a fair chance at success, and are much larger than HS classes in the rest of the state, which average only 20-22, depending on the subject and grade.

It is no wonder that so many of our high schools are failing, and that our four year graduation rates are only 43.5%, according to the state.

The sad fact is that the city has no plans to reduce high school class sizes, even with as much as $5 billion in additional CFE funds – even though our highest court said that NYC students were deprived of their constitutional right to an adequate education because of their excessive class sizes, and that there was “a meaningful correlation between the large classes in City schools and … poor academic achievement and high dropout rates.

Leonie Haimson
Class Size Matters

NOTE: Leonie attached an Excel spreadsheet with all the data. If you want a copy shoot me an email.

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