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Fast Facts

    •Graduation Rate: 77.0%
    •Average SAT Score: 1463
    •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: $19,552
    •Public School Enrollment: 2,734,955
    •Percent Enrolled in Charter Schools:3.0%

New York

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 there’s a new sheriff in town that has been very vocal about rolling back a decade of real progress thanks to strong union entrenchment and opposition.

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: Voucher Laws Across the States Ranking & Scorecard 2014
SOURCE: Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014

New York’s charter sector has received a lot of print as of late. But a recent lawsuit has pointed out some of the deficiencies in the Empire State’s law that despite its model actions in authorizing, the funding mechanism treats a student in Buffalo very differently than one in Brooklyn (41 percent gap in base aid has been frozen for years). New York has a strong charter school law regardless, featuring high-quality components: a variety of independent authorizers, including a model higher-education authorizer in SUNY; blanket waivers from most traditional rules and regulations; and strong accountability. The cap on the number of schools allowed is increasingly problematic once again, as NYC is close to its limit and 50,000 families remain on waiting lists in the Big Apple.

SOURCE: 2015 Charter School Law Rankings State Analysis

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. New York's Department of Education launched a statewide virtual learning initiative to support the growth of effective online and blended instruction and harness the capacity and needs of all school districts and BOCES. Student eligibility in digital learning environments in New York is not based on prior-year enrollment in the public school system.

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. 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.

SOURCE: National Council on Teacher Quality

Customizable report cards are easy to find and offer a wealth of data. Formatting is user friendly, but an overall rating for each school is absent amid an almost overwhelming amount of data. Charter schools (including a directory), homeschooling, and nonpublic school resources all provided. 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.

  • Charter Schools are innovative public schools designed by educators, parents or civic leaders that are open by choice, accountable for results and free from most unnecessary rules and regulations governing conventional public schools. For more information about CER's annual charter law rankings, click here.
  • School choice means giving parents the power and opportunity to choose the school their child will attend. States that give all parents the opportunity to choose the best school for their child – whether public, private, parochial or charter – ensure Parent Power!.
  • Teacher quality comes with strong, data-driven, performance-based accountability systems that ensure teachers are rewarded, retained and advanced based on how they perform in adding value to the students who they teach, measured predominantly by student achievement, along with skills and responsibilities.
  • Transparency in education means giving parents access to good and objective information about their schools, student and teacher performance and options.
  • The movement toward improving education in the U.S. today includes a strong focus on online learning, an approach that involves a myriad of delivery mechanisms via online tools for students, no matter where they live or attend school. Online learning is opening up classrooms to the world and ensuring students access to some of the best content and educators.
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