Who are Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg Going to Blame Everything On?
On Friday, only a few days after what many saw as a fairly smooth first day
of school, the United Federation of Teachers charged that many schools are
severely overcrowded and said it would file more than 9,000 grievances
against the city. The grievances contend that the number of students in many
classrooms exceeds the limits on class size set in the teachers' contract.
Classes in some high schools were said to have at least 40 students, while
the contract sets a maximum of 34 in key academic subjects.
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein dismissed the action taken by the teachers
union as a publicity stunt and said he would put more teachers and resources
in the packed schools. He and Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed much of the
problem on the federal No Child Left Behind law, which allows students in
schools considered "failing" to transfer to better schools. But union
president Randi Weingarten said school officials had been warned of the
potential for overcrowding and should have taken steps to correct it before
school opened. Neither Klein nor Bloomberg disputed the union figures.