Crowley: Almost All Queens K-3 Classes Are Overcrowded
Crowley: Almost All Queens
K-3 Classes Are Overcrowded
During the 1999–2000 school year, 96 percent of students in kindergarten through third grade in Queens attended classes exceeding the optimal size of 18, and almost 57 percent of K–3 students were in classes of 25 or more students, Congressmember Joseph Crowley revealed last week.
Only four percent of children in Kindergarten through third grade had seats in classrooms that met the national goal of 18 students per class, Crowley said, to emphasize the pervasiveness of school overcrowding throughout Queens.
Stressing the seriousness of the longstanding problem, Crowley (D–Queens/ Bronx) declared:
"Schools are not factories and children cannot be warehoused. Teachers need to have the ability to connect with students. Overcrowded classrooms make this virtually impossible."
He called on President George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress to support a "common sense" bipartisan bill which would provide $2 billion to New York schools for modernization and tax incentives to corporations that participate in cooperative agreements with public schools in areas where there is high need.
"This is a tool that our schools need to address overcrowding, not just here in Queens, but across the country," Crowley said.
The school overcrowding statistics which Crowley released came from a report conducted by the House Committee On Government Reform. Requested by Crowley, this is the first such report on class size in New York City and analyzes the number of children in kindergarten through third grade in Queens classrooms.
Crowley said that studies in several states, including Tennessee, Wisconsin, North Carolina and California, "indicate that reducing class size to 18 students or less in grades K-3 can significantly improve achievement."
He added, "According to the Federal Department of Education, class size reduction in the early grades is one of the most direct and effective ways to boost children’s academic achievements." For that reason the department had established a national objective to reduce class size in the early grades to a nationwide average of 18 children.
Crowley is a member of the House Education Task Force and is working to make class size reduction and school modernization a priority for Bush and the 107th Congress.