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Op-Ed: LI Already Spends $36K Per Student - Smaller Classes Will Raise Costs, But Won't Improve Resu

By Steve Levy

I recommend that you check out a recent Op-Ed from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, calling out state lawmakers for forcing city schools to reduce the number of students per class.

Bloomberg rightly notes that this is just a feel-good measure that placates the teachers unions by forcing the taxpayers to foot the bill for more teachers unnecessarily.

More significant is the fact that Bloomberg cites many studies showing that lower class size is one of the least important factors in improving student performance.

This outstanding article should be read in conjunction with yet another article distinguishing the positive academic results in Massachusetts versus the dismal student performance here in New York.

A recent Newsday article shows that Long Island schools are now spending over $36,000 per pupil. It is the largest education expenditure in the nation - and over twice as much per student as the national average.

And yet student performance in New York State lags behind about half of the other states that spend much less.

A recent study notes that Massachusetts made remarkable gains in student performance when they started to raise standards. New York is heading in exactly the opposite direction, having lowered passing grades from 65 to 50 in many cases.

We now see the Regents board making some Regents exams optional and allowing individuals to take the test and then discard them if they didn’t do well enough.

Since there is no real measuring stick anymore in New York, or any incentive for students to strive for excellence, it’s no wonder that student test scores remain low statewide.

It doesn’t take 100 Ph.D's to figure out that the answer to poor student test performance is not more money. It’s more discipline and higher expectations.

It would be nice if our education leaders in New York would follow the data, but unfortunately, they’re stuck following an equity ideology that has failed in the past and is almost certain to fail again in the future.


Steve Levy is Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a NYS Assemblyman, and host of “The Steve Levy Radio Show.” He writes for "Long Island Life & Politics"


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