The Fight for Smaller Classes Is Far from Over

For a long time, teachers and students have been advocating for smaller class sizes in New York City public schools. During the summer of 2021, the city council proposed a bill that would increase the amount of designated classroom space per student from 20 square feet each to 35 square feet each, a policy that the UFT (United Federation of Teachers) strongly supported.

For years the UFT has been advocating for changes to the limit of kids allowed in each classroom, as teachers cite concerns on how difficult it is teaching large classes.

“My largest class has about 34 students, which makes it hard for me to give individual attention to students as my attention is spread so thin,” said Mr. Jallot, a history and English special education teacher.

Teachers are not the only ones with concerns. Students in large classes here at Pace and many other public schools in New York City face challenges with their education due to overcrowding.

“I would like the class sizes to be smaller,” said 10th grader Ceveen Saad when asked about current class sizes.

Noelani Getfield is another 10th grader who wants classes to be smaller, ”Kids in the front to middle of the class… are more likely to understand the material compared to kids who have no choice but to sit in the back. Because there is so little room in the class, they are less likely to comprehend.”

Despite students’ and teachers’ complaints and efforts, NY1 reported that the city council bill was not approved to even be voted on. Instead revisions would be made to make the bill more feasible,  council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “You’re going to have to create tens of thousands of additional new school seats, which I support, to meet the mandate that’s in the bill,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to figure out the right, responsible and enforceable way to get that done.”

Whether or not smaller class sizes will be happening in the near future is uncertain, which means that overcrowded classes in New York City might be here to stay for many years to come.