Archives for category: Class Size Matters Org

Mayoral control of the schools was never a good idea. The current race for mayor of New York City demonstrates that it is a horrible idea. The leading candidate at the moment is Eric Adams, who was a police office, a member of the legislature, and borough president of Brooklyn. Certainly he has deep experience in municipal affairs.

But his plans for education are unsound. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Mercedes Schneider lives in Louisiana but she spotted Adams’ platform on the running the schools and called him out for the worst plan ever proposed.

She writes:

Eric Adams is running for mayor of New York City.

He wants to assign hundreds of students to a single teacher because technology could allow it, and it costs less.

Of course, in Adams’ mind, the ridiculous student-teacher ratio is fine because *great teachers* with technology (aka, kids on laptops) produces “skillful” teaching. Consider Adams’ words in this February 2021 candidate interview with Citizens Budget Commission president, Andrew Rein, when Rein asks Adams about how much a “full year school year” would cost. 

Apparently, Adams’ plan is the well-worn ed-reform idea of cost-cutting excellence:

Think about this for a moment, let’s go with the full year school year because that’s important to me. When you look at the heart of the dysfunctionality of our city, it’s the Department of Education. We keep producing, broken children that turn into broken adults and live in a broken system. 80% of the men and women at Rikers Island don’t have a high school diploma or equivalency diploma. 30% are reported based on one study to be dyslexic because we’re not doing what we should be doing in educating, we find ourselves putting young people in a place of being incarcerated. That must change. And so if you do a full year school year by using the new technology of remote learning, you don’t need children to be in a school building with a number of teachers, it’s just the opposite. You could have one great teacher that’s in one of our specialized high schools to teach 300 to 400 students who are struggling in math with the skillful way that they’re able to teach. 

Let’s look at our best mastered teachers and have them have programs where they’re no longer being just within a school building. We no longer have to live within the boundaries of walls, of locations. We can now have a different method of teaching and I’m going to have the best remote learning that we could possibly have, not just turning on the screen and having children look at someone or really being engaged.

When market-based ed reform hit Louisiana in 2011, one of my concerns as a classroom teacher was that I might be rated “highly effective” and *rewarded* with increased class sizes. That thinking was and still is an idiotic core belief of ed reform: A “great teacher” can continue to be great no matter how thin that teacher is spread in trying to meet the educational needs of any number of individual students.

When Michael Bloomberg was mayor, he once proposed a similar plan: Identify “great teachers” and double the size of their classes. No one thought that was a good idea. Adams wants the neediest children to be online in a class of 300-400 students. They will never get individual attention or help. Dumb idea.

But, wait! There’s more. After Adams got negative feedback for his proposal, he backtracked and said he had been misquoted or misunderstood. Leonie Haimson writes here that if most people learned one thing from the pandemic, it is that remote learning has limited and specific value. If students need extra attention, they will not be likely to get it in remote settings.

Leonie Haimson is a tireless advocate for small class size. At the drop of a hat, she will recite the research showing the value of small classes, especially for the neediest children.

She just published an article showing how New York City can afford to reduce class sizes.

She identifies the specific ways that the city can shift funds to reduce class sizes.

She begins:

The New York City Department of Education has lost 74 employees to the novel coronavirus, including 30 teachers and 28 paraprofessionals who have died as of May 8. Evidence has also emerged that children can develop serious illnesses after being infected with the virus, and even those who are asymptomatic are often effective transmitters.

Now that both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have wisely decided that our public schools will be closed through the end of June, it is time to start thinking about how they will be reopened in the fall to maximize the health and safety of students and staff, and strengthen the academic and emotional support that our students will need to make up for the myriad losses they have suffered this year.

As Mayor de Blasio has said, “Next school year will have to be the greatest academic school year New York City will ever have because everyone is going to be playing catch up.” And yet he has also proposed over $800 million in reductions to the Department of Education, including staffing freezes and at least $140 million taken directly out of school budgets, which would likely cause class sizes to grow even larger, the loss of school counselors and more.

How could next year be the best year ever, given such drastic reductions? In fact, our schools will need increased investments to provide the enhanced feedback and engagement that students will so desperately need after months of isolation and inadequate remote learning.


You are invited to the Annual Class Size Matters

“Skinny Award” Dinner

honoring those who have given us the

“real skinny” on NYC schools:

NY Attorney General Letitia James



Wednesday June 19, 2019  at 6 PM


Casa La Femme, 140 Charles St.

Join us for a delicious three course meal with a glass of wine and great company!

Together we will celebrate our victories and gain strength for the challenges to come.

6/19/2019 6:00 PM TO 6/19/2019 9:00 PM
NEW YORK, NY 10014


This Tuesday on June 11 at noon at City Hall, Network for Public Education is co-sponsoring a rally with Class Size Matters and many other organizations to urge NYC to allocate specific funding in next year’s budget towards reducing class size; please come if you can and bring your kids; they have the day off from school. 


Smaller classes have been linked with more learning and better student outcomes in every way that can be measured – students in smaller classes get better grades and better test scores, have fewer disciplinary problems, and graduate from high school and college at higher rates.  


Meanwhile,  NYC public schools have the largest class sizes in the state – and suffer from class sizes 15-30% bigger than students in the rest of the state on average.  More than 330,000 NYC students were in crammed into classes of 30 or more this fall. 


Here is a flyer with more information; please post it in your school and share it with others.  And please attend the rally on Tuesday if you can! 



Dear Friends-

1. Save the date! On Tuesday June 11 at noon at City Hall we will be rallying for smaller classes, urging the Mayor and the City Council to allocate funds in this year’s budget for class size reduction. Please come and bring your kids – they have the day off from school! Co-sponsored by Class Size Matters, NYC Kids PAC and the Network for Public Education. A flyer to post & distribute in your schools will be ready soon.

Click to access rally-v6.pdf

2. Last week in court we won a terrific victory when DOE withdrew its proposal to close PS 25, a small school in Bed Stuy. Because of very small classes, experienced teachers and a collaborative principal, PS 25 outperforms the city and the state in test scores, despite enrolling 100% low-income kids, 100% Black and Latino, 27% students with disabilities and about 30% homeless. From the bench, Judge Katherine Levine urged DOE to support the growth of this excellent school while ensuring that its class sizes remain small. She said, “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see one of the reasons the school has made so much progress is because of its small class sizes.”  More about this wonderful news on my blog and in the Brklyner.

3. Finally, please remember to buy a ticket to our Annual Skinny Award Dinner on Wednesday June 19; honorees include our amazing Attorney General Tish James and NYC Kids PAC.

And please forward this message to others who care, Leonie

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011

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If you live in or near New York City, this is the one event you cannot miss. You will meet heroes of the Resistance. The dinner on June 19 is a joyous occasion where great people who care passionately about better education for all children meet, drink, and dine, o behalf of Class Size Matters, the organization founded by Leonie Haimson to fight for smaller classes, higher funding, Student Privacy, and less emphasis on testing.

The honorees are super. Tish James, The recently elected Attorney General of the State of New York, is a champion of public schools. She is also a key figure in demanding public accountability from the Trump Administration, drug manufacturers, and many others.

The event will also honor NYC Kids PAC, an organization that truly puts the interests of children first (unlike others who tried to co-opt the title).

Here is the information you need to order tickets.

Save the date! On Wednesday June 19 we will hold our annual Skinny award dinner at Casa La Femme on 140 Charles St. The honorees will be Attorney General Tish James for her steadfast and courageous leadership in supporting public school students and parents over many years; and NYC Kids PAC, the only political action committee that rates candidates on their positions on public education. Please reserve your ticket now — for a delicious three course dinner with wine and great company besides!

Join me at the Skinny Awards!

Why the Skinny Awards? Because they are the opposite of the Broad Awards! At the Skinny Awards, people are honored for supporting public schools, not privatization. And unlike the Broad Awards, the honorees get a plastic engraved doodad, not a six-figure check.

This is a wonderful dinner that honors outstanding defenders of public education and benefits Class Size Matters, which fights for reduced class sizes, student privacy, parent voice, and adequate funding for public schools.

The event is tomorrow night in New York City.

Here is the invitation.

Meet Leonie Haimson (and me).

Leonie Haimson is a true school reformer, unlike the hedge funders, tycoons, and entrepreneurs who have falsely claimed that title. She is a dedicated education activist who has led the fight over many years for fully funded public schools and student privacy.

In this video, she talks with veteran journalist Bob Herbert about the mistakes of those in power who rely on standardized testing as the sole definition of success, about segregation, about the damage wrought by charter schools, and about the changes that will benefit all students.

Leonie Haimson is executive director and founder of Class Size Matters. In addition to advocating for reduced class size, Leonie is a nationally recognized defender of student privacy and has won notable battles against data mining. She is also the most effective education activist in the city of New York. I am a member of her board.

I hope you will join us on June 19 for the annual dinner to benefit Class Size Matters.

Please reserve your seat now for our Annual Skinny Award dinner on Tuesday June 19. We will be honoring four tremendous individuals who have given us the “real skinny” on NYC public schools:

Council Member Danny Dromm, Chair of the Finance Committee & former Education Chair

Norm Scott, retired teacher and
blogger/videographer extraordinaire

Fred Smith, testing expert and critic

And a surprise honoree who will be announced at the event!

Join us on June 19, 2018 at 6 PM at Casa La Femme, 140 Charles St. in Greenwich Village, for a delicious three course meal with a glass of wine and great company!

This is always one of the most joyous events of the year, where we celebrate our victories and gain strength for the challenges to come. Buy your tickets today.

Even if you can’t make it, please consider making a contribution at the above link in honor of these terrific awardees, and to support our work going forward.

Hope to see you at the Skinnies, and thanks! Leonie

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011

Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

Parents have been outraged by the New York City Department of Education’s policy of closing schools as a “reform” strategy. They were especially outraged by the decision to close PS 25 in Brooklyn. The DOE says it is “under enrolled,” which it is, but it is one of the most successful elementary schools in the city. Since it is doing such a good job, why not recruit more students instead of closing it? One answer: closing it would allow Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter school to take over the entire building.

Leonie Haimson led an effort to save PS 25. She got a lawyer to sue the DOE pro bono, and yesterday her group won a temporary restraining order which will likely save PS 25 for at least another year. If the DOE comes to its senses, it may save the school, period.

The judge ” seemed impressed with our research showing how all the other 33 schools DOE offered these students to apply to 1- all had far lower positive impact ratings 2- many of them were miles away, 19 of the schools in Staten Island alone 3- 25 were overcrowded, and 4- none had class sizes as small as PS 25. And the DOE has not offered to provide busing for the students.

“In short, she was impressed that in most every other proposal to close schools, the DOE had promised higher performing schools that students could apply to, but they didn’t in this case, because according to DOE’s own estimation, there are only three other public elementary schools as good as PS 25 in the entire city and they are full.

“In fact, the City itself admitted in their response papers to the lawsuit that according to the school performance dashboard, PS 25 is the “second best public elementary school in Brooklyn and the fourth best in the City, and that PS 25 outperforms charter school other than Success Academy Bronx 2 in its positive impact on student achievement and attendance.”

Why in the world should the city close one of its highest performing schools? The Bloomberg administration closed scores of schools, routinely, without a second thought.

Good work, Leonie!

PS: The annual dinner of Leonie Haimson’s organization, Class Size Matters, will hold its annual fundraising dinner on June 19. All are invited to attend. The price is modest, as these dinners go. Invitation to follow.