Class size matters only as a UFT dodge to gain control of schools
Parents and fiscal watchdogs agree: Gov. Kathy Hochul should veto the Legislature’s 11th-hour sabotage of mayoral control of New York City schools, with an unfunded poison pill of an NYC-only mandate for smaller class sizes.
Last Friday, a diverse group of parents rallied in front of Hochul’s Manhattan office to demand a veto. Signs included: “Mayoral control, not controlled mayor!!”
Vetoing the ugly mayoral-control bill (which waters down the mayor’s power) would oblige her to call the Legislature back to pass a clean one, since control otherwise will lapse June 30.
But the gov can just nix the measure to cap class sizes at between 25 and 20 students for various grades. City Hall’s preliminary analysis shows that would cost $1 billion a year to implement.
As the Empire Center’s Peter Warren argues, the mandate is simply a gift to the United Federation of Teachers, which would get more jobs for its members plus special powers over how the mayor and chancellor implement the order.
Citizens Budget Commission chief Andrew Rein urges a veto because the class-size mandate requires “significant new spending” with zero evidence the outlays would boost “learning outcomes.” Notably, the mandate would force rapid hiring of rookie teachers to meet the class-size quotas, surely “negating some of the potential benefits.”
Offsetting cuts to pay for those new teachers threaten other valuable programs, from AP and gifted classes to the mayor’s new initiative to better help kids with dyslexia.
If Hochul is a true ally of Mayor Adams, she’ll veto at least the class-size mandate.