Conditions in New York City:
NYC has some of the most crowded classrooms in the state. The average NYC elementary school class has 28 students, compared with 22.4 in the rest of the state. The City's other class sizes are well above the averages in the rest of the state:
9th grade English
7th grade math
New York City's enormous class sizes are a direct result of the state's underfunding of the City's public schools. New York City currently spends over $1,000 less per pupil than the statewide average – a shortfall that directly translates into fewer classrooms, fewer qualified teachers, and larger classes.
Research from many states confirms what parents and teachers already know: kids learn better in smaller classes. Class size makes a significant difference in student achievement – particularly for high-needs and minority students. Students who are in small classes from kindergarten to third grade reap long-lasting educational benefits. Class sizes in New York City, especially in the crucial early grades, are so large that they hinder students' ability to meet the state's Learning Standards and to obtain a sound basic education.
While the state legislature has passed the LADDER program, which provides grants to help districts reduce their class sizes, funding for the program is in jeopardy. New York State must provide substantial additional funding for the classrooms, buildings and additional teachers NYC's schools need to lower their class sizes.
State's anticipated position:
The State is expected to argue that class size does not affect student achievement. Experts for defendants have previously suggested that class sizes between 15 and 40 students make no significant difference in a child's ability to succeed. In her opening statement before the court, Harriet Rosen, Assistant Attorney General, argued that "the most crowded schools are often the successful schools . . . . [O]vercrowding is more a result of good education than a condition leading to inadequate education."
Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >