While there is a long list of reasons why students in the city are having a difficult time along the road to graduation, with more failing than succeeding in many schools, the most pressing issue they face every day is overcrowding.
When students are forced to digest their education at a desk sitting on the sidelines of a gymnasium while a class is learning basketball drills across the court, we are facing a serious situation.
To solve this problem, though, we need to stop thinking of it from the macro point of view, and put ourselves into the very desks that we are forcing our students to occupy.
Imagine yourself trying to learn as a preteen in a gymnasium, with the echoes and sneaker squeaks, the hollers and laughter all mixing in together, begging you to jump out of your seat and join in.
How successful would a young you be in that scenario? Do you believe that particular young person is being given every opportunity he or she needs to succeed and bring success to his family and community in adulthood?
Or is that young child going to grow up to resent the systemic neglect that views his over-crowded school as fit for duty,?
The truth is schools – such as PS 176 in Brooklyn – are receiving citations from the New York Fire Department for overcrowding issues, but no one has any idea what to do about it.
No one is saying this is an easy fix, but our students of today can’t wait until tomorrow for course corrections. Solving the overcrowding issue in our schools should be our city’s top priority.