The past two years have proven that New York City is home to some of the most skilled and hard-working educators in the country. The highest form of respect comes when education policy makers really listen to what these classroom educators have to say.
If ever there was a time when the need for schools to serve as community centers was self-evident, it is now. Our union’s United Community Schools initiative, now nearly 10 years old, serves as a lifeline for thousands of students and their families. We are asking Albany for more support because we need more community schools.
We’ve known for decades that smaller classes enhance teaching and learning. But the pandemic drove home that class size is also a public health issue. We are pushing for legislation that would change the health section of the city’s administrative code to mandate minimal square footage of 28 to 35 square feet per student.
We are operating in a constantly changing environment. You’re teaching and supporting children while enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing, conducting instructional lunches and navigating partial classroom closures. As flexible as we’ve all have been as we adapt to these new circumstances, it has been extremely stressful.