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Frustrated Paterson parents voice concerns over citywide teacher shortage

Parents in Paterson are worried about a citywide teacher shortage and say they are frustrated with a school district plan called “Right Sizing.” They believe this plan will negatively affect students.

Tony Caputo and Lanette Espy

Feb 8, 2024, 10:30 AM

Updated 129 days ago


As Paterson school officials implement “Right Sizing” in their effort to deal with a lack of teachers and resources in the city, many parents and current teachers are not in support.
Parents say “Right Sizing” is using what the school district has as far as the number of teachers and resources available and squeezing too many students into what’s left. At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, parents made it clear they are concerned about overcrowded classrooms with too many students in each class. They are also concerned about the quality of education students will receive.
One parent said, “While the intentions to ensure every classroom is led by a certified instructor is commendable, the implications of such moves on the quality of education and teacher-student ratio and overall school environment require a deeper examination.”
Parents believe "Right Sizing" creates an unnecessary amount of pressure on teachers to educate students when they are overwhelmed with class size and lose the ability to recognize children’s individual achievements.
“We have some classes that have gone without a certified teacher as a result of the shortage for a few years now,” said Paterson assistant superintendent Luis Rojas.
“If parents are struggling to teach their own children at home, how do you think a teacher with 25 and 30 students are going to do it?” said Greta Mills, a teacher in Paterson.
There are currently over 100 open teacher positions available throughout the district. This has parents concerned with the “Right Sizing” plan apparently laid out by the district. Parents say they believe the intention of optimizing resources in education may lead to a direct, negative impact on students.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Paterson school district and is waiting to hear back.

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