Education updates Dec 2023

NYC Public Schools continue to face a number of extremely difficult challenges. Although enrollment increased for the first time in 8 years, enrollment of resident NYC students continues to decline. The increase of approximately 8,000 students includes many of the roughly 19,000  migrant students who enrolled since last school year but were not included in last year’s enrollment. This means roughly 11,000 resident NYC students left during that same period.

The uncontrolled influx of migrants has contributed to the budget cuts implemented across all agencies. The NYCPS budget was cut by $547 million resulting in the loss of thousands of preschool seats, and cuts to the Summer Rising program and family services offered by community schools. Meanwhile many of the estimated 30,000 migrant students require additional academic, language, and mental health supports.

The smaller class size debate also continues. Supporters of the new law argue that smaller classes improve student learning. While those opposed contend that since 42% of classrooms already meet the smaller class size, many of the lower performing high minority schools the law was intended to help would not benefit, while many high demand higher performing schools exceed the smaller class size mandate and would have to reduce enrollment. To fulfill the mandate 17,700 additional teachers would be required at an annual cost of $1.6 – $1.9 billion, and $30 – $35 billion to build additional classrooms.

School safety continues to be of concern. So far this school year 1088 knives and 260 box cutters have been confiscated, a 7% increase according to NYPD school safety data, in addition to a number of high profile in school brawls. Also of concern is the significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in and around schools which NYCPS is struggling to address.

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