Check out the question about class size and overcrowding at about 30 minutes in during last night’s Mayoral debate between Bill de Blasio and Sal Albanese:
Question: Mr. Albanese, the city’s Kids PAC, yesterday gave the current administration grade of “F” for class side and overcrowding, say more than half a million children are affected. What would you do to relieve this today right now?
Sal Albanese: Great question, the tragic number is 63%, 63% of kids graduated from high school cannot do college work. The politically massaged numbers where Bill has shown some increase in math and reading scores, of course leaving out the fact that the poor performing schools are doing worse under his watch.
As a former public school teacher, what I would do is direct resources to reduce class size. That, teachers will tell you that is the best way to get optimum educational outcomes and reduce focus on standardized testing, we are teaching to the test, the kids are coming into the buildings and not passionate about education, they are test takers, I want to move away from that.
I want to produce kids that are innovators, independent thinkers, none of that is happening right now. and those parents yesterday were great because they gave bill the grade he deserved when it comes to public education, an “F.” He spent millions on renewal schools with terrible results.
Question: Mr. Mayor? almost half of the schools, kids are overcrowded. how do you fix that?
Bill de Blasio: I will answer after answering this point, the facts are wrong, once again. Listen, that answer you heard a moment ago denigrates the efforts of our educators, we have the highest graduation rate in the history of New York City, test scores have gone up four years in a row, educators are doing extra ordinary things to reach children.
We know we have a lot more work to do, pre-K will be a huge part, 3-K is behind it, a focus on getting all kids on reading level by third grade, something that has never been done before in the history of the city is where we are put investments. To not recognize that steady progress really is disrespectful to our educators and our parents who are working so hard to support their kids.
To the class size issue, we have added a huge amount of additional money, billions of dollars to increase the amount of construction of new school buildings and to expand buildings that we have already with annexes and other facilities, pre-K centers, so we can additionally reach kids in neighborhoods that are overcrowded..
This is another one that will be a long battle because, in fact, in some neighborhoods, the number of school kids ballooned in recent years, we have a lot more to do to catch up. we are steadily investing in addressing overcrowding and making our schools better for our kids….
Then at about 37 minutes in, Albanese said he would legalize marijuana and tax it to pay for smaller classes:
Albanese: I have a very firm opinion that we need to legalize marijuana, as other states are doing it. …there would be places where you can buy marijuana for recreational use, and use the tax money to improve our schools, to make our city, reduce class size.
For those who want to examine the de Blasio education report card Albanese referred to, check it out.
The only ones who have anything to do with the schools who would disagree with these low grades are probably the UFT's leaders and maybe some school administrators.