Despite what those who relish the "good old days" say, the public schools have always had problems -- and it turns out they have often had too many students.
In his "On Education" column in today's Times, Samuel Freedman described the 22 red classroom trailers that have been installed in the schoolyard at Richmond Hill High School, which is operating at twice its capacity.
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
From its brass entry doors to its rooftop observatory to the intricate oak paneling of the principal’s office, Richmond Hill High School in Queens was built to inspire something like awe for public education. The only discordant response during the structure’s dedication in 1923 was whether, with a capacity for 1,800 students, it was too large.
But it turns out there was similar outrage at what seems to be the very same school -- just two years after it opened. At the time, the administration was struggling to handle its 3,479 students.
March 17, 1925
BACKS SCHOOL PLEA OF RICHMOND HILL
Board of Estimate Asks That building be enlarged or a new one erected.
Parents Call Conditions Disgraceful – Mayor stops yells of students
When a delegation of parents, school children and representatives of civic association of Richmond Hill, L.I. appeared before the Committee of the Whole of the Board of Estimate yesterday and depicted what they termed the “disgraceful and unjust” condition of the overcrowded high school of that community Mayor Hylan and his associates recommended that the Board of Education take immediate steps to relieve the situation, either by enlarging the existing school building or by erecting a new one.
The article goes on to say:
John Munro, President of the Parents’ Associations of Richmond Hill, led the delegation. Some of the parents declared their children were obliged to get up as early as 6:30 A.M. for the first of the divided sessions of the high school, which has only 1,700 seats for 3,479 students. They also declared that some of the children who attend the last session daily do not get home until 7:30 P.M.