School overcrowding isn’t just a comfort issue. It’s an academic one, writes Arthur Goldstein in the GothamSchools community section. Goldstein is a teacher (and newly elected union chapter leader) at Francis Lewis High School in Queens, which has more than 4,400 students this year, up from about 3,800 in the 2001-2002 school year.
Our school is one of the very best regular high schools in the city, quite possibly the best. It’s a miracle we’ve held up as well as we have. But if we are to survive, we can’t count on miracles. We need a break and we need a cap. I was heartened to hear projections we’d have 200 fewer students next year. I was disappointed when that projection was reduced to 100, and then, considering over-the-counter admissions, zero. Now they’re talking additional students. We cannot sustain unlimited overcrowding. No one can. It will reach the point, as it has in many schools, where our quality declines and our students suffer.