Leonie Haimson has been leading the campaign for class size reduction (CSR) for more than 20 years. When I first met her in 2010, she convinced me that the research on class size reduction was overwhelming. It also happens to be the most important priority for parents. She is relentless. I am proud to be a board member of Class Size Matters, the small but mighty organization that Leonie founded and leads, on a budget that is a shoestring. For her dedication, hard work, and persistence, I add Leonie Haimson to the blog’s honor roll.

The campaign for CSR achieved its greatest success when the state legislature passed legislation to reduce class size, and after weeks of wondering, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the law.

Class Size Matters issued the following press release.

For immediate release: September 9, 2022

Contacts: Leonie Haimson: 917-435-9329; leoniehaimson@gmail.com
Julia Watson: 978.518.0729; julia@aqeny.org
Randi Garay and Shirley Aubin: infocpacnyc@gmail.com

Yesterday, Governor Hochul signed the class size bill passed overwhelmingly last June by the Legislature that would require NYC to phase in smaller classes over five years. The only change from the original bill is that the implementation will now begin in the fall of 2023, rather than this September.

Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters, said, “Thank you, Governor Hochul, for listening to the research showing that class size matters, especially for kids who need help the most, and for heeding the pleas of parents and teachers that it’s time to provide true equity to our students, who have long suffered from the largest class sizes in the state. We are eager to help the Chancellor, the UFT and the CSA put together an action plan to make sure that the implementation of this necessary improvement in our schools goes forward in an effective and workable manner.”

“For years, New York city parents, teachers and advocates have demanded smaller class sizes to benefit all public school students,” said Wendy Lecker, Education Law Center Senior Attorney. “Now that Governor Hochul has signed the class size reduction bill championed by Senators Robert Jackson and John Liu, City schools finally have another important tool to ensure their students receive a constitutional sound basic education.”

Parent leaders Randi Garay and Shirley Aubin said, “As the co-chairs of the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council, which represents all the Parent Associations and Parent Teacher Associations in the city’s public schools, we know that smaller classes have been a top priority of NYC parents for decades and how desperately they are needed. In the wake of the pandemic and with the infusion of new state and federal funds, we believe that smaller classes are not only more critical than ever, but more achievable as well. Thank you to the Governor for seeing the importance of smaller class sizes and signing the bill into law.”

“Students in New York’s public schools will be better off thanks to the class size reduction bill that Gov. Hochul signed yesterday. By signing this bill into law, she is sending a clear and important signal that she is on students’ side. We applaud the Governor for her commitment to New York’s students, especially as we are moving toward the third and final year of the State’s Foundation Aid commitment,” said Marina Marcou-O’Malley, Operations and Policy Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

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