Teachers Column

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

About 70 percent of New York City parents give their public schools a passing grade, but most believe that overcrowding, a shortage of books and materials, and rundown buildings mar the district's record, a new survey has found.

More than half of the roughly 5,000 parents polled by the United Federation of Teachers reported such conditions in the nation's largest school district. Many also complained of inadequate course offerings and unsanitary facilities.

Parents of high school students were the most dissatisfied, the survey showed, with 43 percent rating conditions in those schools as poor or fair, and 63 percent reporting too many students per class.

Parents of elementary school students cited the shortage of materials as a serious problem. One in five elementary students has no school books to bring home, according to the teachers' union, which released its findings this month.

About two-thirds of all parents surveyed said they would shrink classes to improve the learning environment. Other remedies proposed were stronger discipline policies, better materials and equipment, and more individual attention for students with difficulties.

Sandra Feldman, the U.F.T.'s president, said the findings matched those of an earlier poll of the city's teachers. The new survey was the first citywide poll of public school parents, the union said.

Metis Associates Inc., an independent polling organization based in New York City, analyzed the data.

The Connecticut Education Association is promoting a school-reform plan developed by its members that holds forth on everything from school safety to an extended school year.

The proposal, released last month, contains some new ideas for improving schools, but many of its other remedies have been kicked around teachers' lounges for years, the C.E.A.'s president, Robert F. Eagan, said in a news release.

The union said it developed the plan because it did not want to stand on the sidelines of the reform movement.

In recent years, many state officials and legislators have sought a performance-based education system in Connecticut, but portions of those plans have run into opposition from teachers' unions and others.

The union is seeking further discussion on how the school day and year should add up and calling for a pilot program for year-round schools. In addition, the C.E.A. has urged the legislature to raise state graduation requirements.

--Joanna Richardson

Vol. 14, Issue 19

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories