Fast Facts•Graduation Rate: 78.4% •Average SAT Score: 1460 •Average ACT Score: 23.4 •4th Grade NAEP Math Score: 40% •8th Grade NAEP Math Score: 32% •4th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 37% •8th Grade NAEP Reading Score: 35% •Per Pupil Funding: $17,918 •Public School Enrollment: 2,766,052
A strong charter law helps create options where many students can excel, but not nearly enough choices exist in this populous state for those who need them most. Teacher quality ranks low despite recent efforts to improve, and digital learning elements are barely in existence. Much power rests with local school boards whose elections are held at off times. Mayoral control in New York City has been a big plus for school improvement and accountability, but strong union entrenchment and opposition slows progress across the Empire State.
The state permits parents limited choices among traditional public schools within their district. Parents also have some choices outside of their district, but only if space is available and districts want to participate, and receiving districts can charge parents tuition, making such options limited and impractical for most families.SOURCE: The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
New York has a strong charter school law, featuring high-quality components: a variety of independent authorizers, including model of a higher-education authorizer in SUNY; blanket waivers from most traditional rules and regulations; strong accountability; and fairly equitable funding (though no facilities aid is provided).SOURCE: 2014 Charter School Law Rankings and Scorecard
New York could improve student access to online and blended options by revisiting policies related to class-size, teacher ratios, enrollment and funding restrictions. The state prohibits full-time online schools and allows only district-led online and blended activities.SOURCE: Digital Learning Now!
Objective evidence of student learning is a significant piece of annually mandated teacher evaluations, currently accounting for 40 percent. Evaluations are subject to collective bargaining, except for part of the student learning section. Licensure advancement and renewal are not based on teacher effectiveness, and although evidence of teacher effectiveness is a factor in tenure decisions, it is not the preponderant one.
Teachers in New York who receive unsatisfactory evaluations for two years are eligible for dismissal if they do not improve. Seniority, not performance, is considered during layoffs.
Although New York teachers can receive compensation for working in high-need schools or subjects, the state does not support enhanced compensation for work experience, and districts are not discouraged from setting salary schedules based solely on seniority and advanced degrees. There is some vague language in state law regarding performance pay, but more concrete language is necessary.SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality
School report cards and information about other options are fairly easy to find and understand on the state’s overall parent-friendly website. New York has 705 local school boards. Elections vary based on the population of cities. Most hold their elections in April or May; only a few are held in November. New York City schools are under the control of the mayor who appoints a chancellor to oversee schools -- since all accountability rests with the mayor, parents know who is really in control.