NYC to Save Money by Increasing Class Sizes for Special Education Kids


school-desksNYC plans to save money by increasing class sizes for special education kids, outraging parents and educators who say students will suffer under the new system.

Education officials quietly voted last week to reduce funding and increase class sizes by about 20% for many special education kids in city schools starting next year.

Teachers and parents say the new rules could mean less effective instruction for about 175,000 special education students in city schools.

“These are our neediest kids and the city is targeting them for cutbacks,” said Patricia Connelly of Bedford-Stuyvesant, whose son, Lucky, is a seventh grader at Middle School 51 in Park Slope.

Lucky has dyslexia and learning disorders but he’s managed to read above grade level due to individualized instruction he received in his classes, Connelly said.

Advocates worry that success stories like his will be less common under new funding rules approved by the Panel for Educational Policy last Wednesday.

Under the modified funding formula, high schools will receive enough money for special education classes with 15 students, up from 12. In younger grades, the number of special education students taught alongside mainstream peers will increase from 10 to 12.

The larger class sizes will “decrease the system-wide cost by reducing the need for additional classes,” according to a Department of Education memo.

An agency spokeswoman said some schools already have special education class with a larger number of students.

“The changes to the funding weights reflect an alignment with the instructional models we know many schools are already using as well as the state guidelines on special education class sizes,” said education department spokeswoman Barbara Morgan.

But special education teachers said that larger class sizes will make instruction difficult for kids with disabilities like autism, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.

“The key to reaching these kids is individualized attention,” said Becky Alford, a special education teacher at Public School 32 in Park Slope. “With more kids in your class, you can’t possibly give them as much attention.”

Principals said the change in the funding formula amounts to a significant cut to budgets for their special education programs, and students with disabilities will bear the consequences.

“It’s a huge loss. Our students are going to suffer because of it,” said one Brooklyn principal who spoke oncondition of anonymity.

That principal plans to cut back on tutoring and therapy programs at her school because of the funding reduction, and she will go without an additional specialeducation teacher she had planned to hire next year.

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter} 


  1. this is going to hurt many frum families, not just the kids who need help, but many girls making parnassah in special ed.

  2. The alternative will hurt the many frum families who pay taxes or will suffer another ticket blitz to pay for it.

  3. Children that require Special Ed, require a lot of personal attention. That has been the success of the program. By cutting it 20% you are ruining the program. We have a collection of fools making these decisions– with no practical experience. They should be told in straight talk that they will be voted out.