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Public education in New York

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K-12 Education in New York
State Superintendent: John King (New York)
Number of students: 2,704,718[1]
Number of teachers: 209,527
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:12.9
Number of school districts: 923
Number of schools: 4,752
Graduation rate: 77%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $19,076[3]
See also
Public education in New York
New York Department of Education
New York school districts
List of school districts in New York
New York
The New York public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. New York has 709 school districts.

The New York state constitution requires that the state offer a "support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated."[4]

New York spends $17,173 per student, the highest in the nation.[5]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: New York state budget

New York's school districts will receive $20 billion in state aid for the 2012-2013 school year, an increase of about $750 million, or 3.9 percent, compared to 2011-2012.[6] It is the first increase for education in three years, during which time school funding was cuts or remained flat.[7] Click here to see how much money each district will receive from the state, as compiled by the Democrat and Chronicle.[8]

A 2 percent cap on property tax rate growth for FY2013, however, will mean less funding for some school districts. To increase taxes at a rate beyond the cap requires the support of 60 percent of their voters to be approved under state law.[7]

Personnel salaries

The New York Mayor has proposed eliminating 6,000 teacher positions.[9] The administration had dedicated $2 billion to cover losses in state and federal funding. Despite the plan to eliminate the position, it would have no effect on the current school budget.

According to the New York State Education Department, the median elementary and secondary school classroom teacher salary in the 2008-2009 school year was $65,236, $2,904 more than a year prior. Compared to the 2000-2001 school year, teachers had a median salary of $14,216 less than 2008-2009.[10]

School Year Median Salary
2008-09 $65,236
2007-08 $62,332
2006-07 $59,557
2005-06 $55,942
2004-05 $55,665
2003-04 $55,181
2002-03 $53,017
2001-02 $51,020
2000-01 $51,020

Rubber rooms

Rubber rooms are places where teachers who are in the process of being fired were sent to do nothing, while receiving full pay. The New York school system claims to have shut down these rooms, but the New York Times says that they still exist, only scatter throughout administration buildings.[11]

Of the 744 teachers who were in the rubber rooms, most have been returned to the classroom. The breakdown is as follows:[12]

  • 181 resigned or retired
  • 59 were terminated
  • 81 have disciplinary hearings pending
  • 270 were given penalties
  • 200 more were cleared

Role of unions

The maine union related to the New York school system is New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA). For the 2003 tax period NYSUT had: $85.84 million in total revenue, $85.19 million in total expenses and $102.93 million in total assets.[13]

List of local New York school unions:[14]

In the 2010 elections, teachers donated $1.6 million to congressional candidates, largely democrats.[15]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education comprises of 17 members, all elected by the State Legislature. Board members are elected for 5 year terms. One member is elected from each 13 judicial district and 4 members serve at large. Board members do not receive a salary but they are reimbursed for travel and related expenses. The board is responsible for the general supervision of state education related activities. Additionally, the board presides over the New York State Education Department.[16]

Officials recently cut a program which would have placed 45 undercover devices throughout the schools. Privacy advocates, including the ACLU, protested the devices saying they violated school policy and student's privacy rights.[17]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: New York government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the New York State School Boards Association.


The state of New York has two transparency resources that monitor government spending: Open Book New York, created by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and Project Sunlight, created by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.


A 2009 study, Leaders and Laggards, conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for a Competitive Workplace, Frederick M. Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Center for American Progress, gave New York: "C" in academic achievement; "C" in truth in advertising about student proficiency; "A" in rigor of standards; "B" in post-secondary and workforce readiness; "A" in for its teacher workforce policies; "C" in data quality.[18]


In 2009 it was discovered that approximately 700 teachers are "paid to do nothing." Because of strict union contracts with New York public schools teachers, teachers are hard to fire. Instead, any teacher facing a disciplinary hearing must wait for months or years in a temporary reassignment center.[19] During this wait, teachers receive full pay of $70,000 or more and full benefits, and while they may not continue their daily tasks as teachers, they are allowed no unrelated work.[19] The offenses range anywhere from insubordination to sexual misconduct.[19] There are currently about 700 teachers in these centers.[19]


The New York Post filed for the teacher evaluation for 12,000 teachers in New York. The City Department of Education officials was prepared to hand over the data, but chose to wait for the ruling from a lawsuit filed by the teacher's union in the New York Supreme Court, which will be decided on Nov. 24.[20]

Academic performance

The chart below reveals details on New York schools' 2007-2008 performance according to the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report, which is used by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program to determine the academic performance of schools.[21] Schools with "Y" denotes schools that met the minimum academic requirements, while "N" represents schools that failed to meet the minimum requirements and are considered to be "failing." To see results, click on "show."

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[22] 2011 Education Spending[23] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[24] 2012 Education Spending[25] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[26] 2011 Avg. ACT score[27] 2012 Avg. ACT score[28] 2010 Graduation Rate[29] 2011 Graduation Rate[30]
New York $295.7 billion $69.8 billion 23.6% $302.6 billion $72.8 billion 24.0% 23.3 23.4 23.3 68.8% 70.9%

School choice

School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: in the state of New York are publicly funded and open to all students via an admissions lottery. The schools are governed by a not-for-profit board of trustees. Unlike state public schools, charter schools can design their own educational programs.[31]
  • Public school open enrollment: in New York, the state has two open enrollment policies: intra-district and inter-district open enrollment. In other words, students are permitted to enroll in any school within their neighborhood school district or in any alternative district in the state.[32]
  • Online learning: the state of New York does not have a state-led online program, however Boards of Cooperative Educational Services does offer some online options.[32]


Three teachers were recently fired from New York City Schools for flirting with students inappropriately on Facebook.[33]

See also

External links

Additional reading


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. New York Constitution,"Article XI, Section 1," retrieved September 11, 2009
  5. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  6. The Democrat and Chronicle "Some win, some lose in New York state budget deal" April 1, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 Businessweek "NY schools, taxpayers wary of tax cap budget hits" March 29, 2012
  8. here The Democrat and Chronicle "2012-2013 state aid to public schools"
  9. Wall Street Journal, Budget Plan Would Cut 6,000 Teachers, May 6, 2011
  10. New York State Education Department,"Median Salary Of Public Elementary And Secondary School Classroom Teachers," retrieved September 10, 2009
  11. New York Times, New York Teachers Still in Idle Limbo, Dec. 7, 2010
  12. New York Post, Rubber-roomers back to school, March 12, 2011
  13. Center for Union Facts,"New York State United Teachers," retrieved September 4, 2009
  14. Center for Union Facts,"New York teachers unions," retrieved September 4, 2009
  15. New York Post, Teachers hand out gold $tars to Dems, Oct. 16, 2010
  16. New York State Department of Education,"About the Board of Regents," retrieved September 4, 2009
  17. New York Daily News, 'Spier' education: Officials pull plug on website promoting hidden camera gadgets for principals, Feb. 14, 2011
  18. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute,"New York Education Report Card," retrieved November 17, 2009
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Associated Press, "700 NYC teachers are paid to do nothing," June 22, 2009
  20. New York Post, State education bigs rate the ratings, Oct. 23, 2010
  21. New York State Education Department,"List of self assessment outcomes for 07-08," retrieved September 11, 2009
  22. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  23. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  24. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  25. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  26. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  27. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  28. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  29. National Center for Education Statistics
  30. National Center for Education Statistics
  31. New York State Education Department,"What is a Charter School?," retrieved September 10, 2009
  32. 32.0 32.1 The Heritage Foundation,"School Choice in New York," retrieved September 10, 2009
  33. New York Post, Teachers fired for flirting on Facebook with students, Oct. 18, 2010