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UFT Report Says Numerous City Classrooms Are Overcrowded

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TWC News: UFT Report Says Numerous City Classrooms Are Overcrowded
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Last Friday was the deadline for schools to have right number of students in each class, but the teachers' union says there are still thousands of classrooms over the limit. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

There are too many students in too many classes across the city, according to the teachers' union, something that UFT President Michael Mulgrew blames squarely on one person.

"He chose, once again, to increase the class sizes throughout the city of New York," Mulgrew said, referring to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who the union and parent advocates say has allowed class sizes to balloon by focusing resources on other initiatives.

The mayor has said he believes teacher quality is much more important than the number of students in each room, but class size is an issue that parents and teachers care a lot about.

"Each year the DOE's parent survey has been given, smaller classes are the number one priority of New York City public school parents," said parent Leonie Haimson.

Teachers file official complaints with the union if their classes have too many students at the end of the second week of school. Classes are supposed to be capped at 32 for elementary school, 33 for middle school and 34 for high school.

This year, there were 6,313 complaints, up from 6,133 last year. More than 1,000 came from high schools in Queens, like Cardozo, where there were 385 oversized classes at the start of the year.

"So much of this is out of our control, and even our administrators, they're juggling classes trying to make things work," said teacher Dino Sferrazza.

At many schools like Cardozo, they say it takes a real toll on the academics, since the first few weeks of the year are now spent frantically rescheduling and shuffling students and teachers and classes and courses, trying to get class size below the limits.

"I had a lot of schedule changes, people trying to get equalized or only just moving around, and it is difficult," said student Jessie Wang.

"I spend the beginning of the period sending three or four kids out of the room to go get desks from another classroom that's not overcrowded," said teacher Phillip Ackerman.

In response to the union report, the DOE pointed to the number of new schools built under the Bloomberg administration, but it did not address the other potential causes of overcrowding, like enrollment or staffing policies. ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP