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Know Your Rights
Source: WNYC Public Radio
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

City to Spend Millions on Middle School Improvements

NEW YORK, NY August 13, 2007 —The city will spend an extra $5 million on improving middle schools. Despite some recent gains, fewer than 50 percent of middle school students are meeting state standards in reading and math.

REPORTER: The new money will go to the 50 lowest-performing middle schools so they can hire more guidance counselors, offer extended day programs and recruit and retain more qualified teachers.

These recommendations were made by a City Council Task force. But there’s no plan to move ahead with another recommendation: reducing class sizes. Still, that’s all right for now according to Patrick Montesano, Vice President of the Academy for Educational Development, and an advocate for middle school reform.

MONTESANO: You can have smaller classes but if teachers are not sufficiently prepared to work with students of that age and if the curriculum isn’t relevant to them and their lives, then even the smaller class size isn’t going to do the job.

REPORTER: The Chancellor has also appointed a new Director of Middle School initiatives.

Note: Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ), of which Make the Road by Walking is a founding member, is alliance of parent organizations representing 220,000 students pushing for improvements to middle schools. In January, the CEJ released a report on middle schools that highlighted experiences in their schools and called for specific changes to turn things around.