4,700 kids in a school built for 1,800

His Queens high school, built for 1,800 students is stuffed to the gills with 4,700, writes Arthur Goldstein, an ESL teacher, in the New York Daily News.

. . . I had half a dozen kids from the Dominican Republic who loved to speak. But they wanted to speak Spanish, and in my English classes, we speak only English.

It was hard to blame them. On the other side of our sheetrock wall was a Spanish teacher partial to choral repetition. Every time I reminded my kids of our English-only rule, we’d hear 34 voices chant in unison, “Como esta usted, Senor Mendez?” They thought it was the funniest thing in the world.

The half-rooms were designed to alleviate overcrowding. After we created them, the Education Department sent us hundreds of extra kids.

I’ve since been exiled to the trailers. Technically they’re “transportables,” but ours haven’t gone anywhere since they arrived years ago. Our first trailers gave us four additional classrooms, designed to alleviate overcrowding.

After we got the trailers, the department sent us hundreds of extra kids. Our second bunch gave us four more classrooms, and the department sent us hundreds more extra kids.

And they keep coming.

About Joanne


  1. Ahh, the joys of mayoral control.

  2. … and out-of-control immigration.

  3. Even 1800 seems like too many to me. Personally, I believe that high schools should have between 100-200 kids per grade. That’s big enough to offer a variety of electives and extracurriculars but small enough so that everyone knows each other.

  4. Our academic magnets tend to have 200 – 225 per grade. The zoned schools have 300 or 400 and up to roughly 700 per grade. Those larger schools are just too large and have tended to be out of control. With the introduction of small learning communities it appears the school year has gotten off to a smoother start. Oh yeah…the truancy sweeps probably help, too.

    Personally, I like 100 – 125 per grade.