|Jurisdiction New York City||Key document Education Law|
|Department executive Carmen Fariña, New York City Schools Chancellor|
The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is the department of the government of New York City that manages the city's public school system. The City School District of the City of New York (the New York City public schools) is the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,800 separate schools. The department covers all five boroughs of New York City, and has an annual budget of nearly 25 billion dollars.
- Health and nutrition
- School buildings
- Radio and television stations
- Panel for Educational Policy
- Community Education Councils
- Analysis and criticism
- Mayoral control status
The department is run by the Panel for Educational Policy and New York City Schools Chancellor. The current chancellor is Carmen Fariña.
All of the city is assigned to the NYCDOE school district except for a small section of the Bronx, which is instead assigned to the Pelham Public Schools (with tuition supported by the city government).
Beginning in 2003, New York City public schools citywide implemented a mathematics "core curriculum" based on New York State standards for grades K-12. To graduate high school, students must earn at least six credits in mathematics. In order to receive a Regents diploma, students must score at least 65 on a Regents math exam.
Health and nutrition
The city has made an effort to reduce childhood obesity among students by promoting exercise and improving nutrition in school cafeterias.
During Mayor Bloomberg's first term, white bread was entirely replaced with whole wheat bread, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns in cafeterias. In 2006, the city set out to eliminate whole milk from cafeteria lunch menus and took the further step of banning low-fat flavored milks, allowing only skim milk (white and chocolate). The New York City school system purchases more milk than any other in the United States; although the dairy industry aggressively lobbied against the new plan they ultimately failed to prevent its implementation.
In October 2009, the DOE banned bake sales, though some schools continue to have them with frequency. The DOE cited the high sugar content of baked sale goods and that 40% of NYC students are obese. Meanwhile, vending machines in the schools operated by Frito Lay and Snapple continue to sell high processed empty calorie foods such as Doritos and Juices. Contracts for the vending machines were awarded in no-bid deals through Mayor Bloomberg's office. As part of the DOE's ambition to create healthy diets among students, as of October, Frito Lay will have to put Reduced Fat Doritos in machines. The DOE considers Reduced Fat Doritos, which contain corn dextrin, corn maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium phosphate, artificial flavor, dextrose, artificial color, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, a healthy snack based on its June 2009 request for healthy snack vending machine proposals. The NYC school lunch menu contains numerous highly processed foods and high sugar content foods including chicken nuggets, French fries, French toast and syrup. NYC also continues to fail to meet the mandatory physical education requirements of NY State, and NYC DOE has failed to maintain or improve playgrounds instead turning them into ad-hoc additional classroom space or parking lots.
In January 2011, more than 1,100 New York City students from 13 schools were offered morning-after pill and other birth control pill (Reclipsen). The pilot program is called Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health and is facing criticism.
Beginning in 2000, after experiments with hiring uncertified teachers to fulfill a massive teacher shortage failed to produce acceptable results, and responding to pressure from the New York State Board of Regents and the No Child Left Behind Act, the DOE instituted a number of innovative programs for teacher recruitment, including the New York City Teaching Fellows, the TOP Scholars Program, and initiatives to bring foreign teachers (primarily from Eastern Europe) to teach in the city's schools. Housing subsidies are in place for experienced teachers who relocate to the city to teach.
In the course of school reorganizations, some veteran teachers have lost their positions. They then enter a pool of substitutes, called the Absent Teacher Reserve. On November 19, 2008, the Department and the city's teacher union (the United Federation of Teachers), reached an agreement to create financial incentives for principals of new schools to hire ATR teachers and guidance counselors.
The Department of Education has an annual budget of nearly $25 billion for its 1.1 million students. According to Census Data, New York spends $19,076 each year per student, more than any other state compared to the national average of $10,560.
3 billion dollars of the budget goes to Non City schools. This includes $1.09 billion to pre-school special education services and $725.3 million for School-Age non DOE contract special education. Another $71 million goes to non public schools such as yeshivas and parochial schools and $1.04 billion is paid for the 70 thousand students attending charter schools.
4.6 billion of the budget pays for pensions and interest on Capital Plan debt.
About 1.1 million students attend New York City public schools.
About 40% of students in the city's public school system live in households where a language other than English is spoken, and one-third of all New Yorkers were born in another country. The city's Department of Education translates report cards, registration forms, system-wide alerts, and documents on health and policy initiatives for parents into Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, and Haitian Creole.
In the 2010-2011, Hispanics and Latino students made up 39.9% of the student population. African Americans made up 30.3% of the student population, Non-Hispanic Whites made up 14.3% and Asian American students made up 15.0% of the student populace. Native Americans made up the remaining 0.5% of the student body.
The specialized high schools tend to be disproportionately Asian. New York's Specialized High School Institute is an after-school program for students in late middle school. It was designed to enlarge the pool of African American and Hispanic candidates eligible for admission to the selective schools by giving them extra lessons and teaching test-taking skills. Unlike other urban school districts (such as San Francisco Unified School District), New York does not use racial preferences (affirmative action) in public school admissions.
In a May 11, 2012 report, The New York Times reported that New York City has the third most segregated large city school system, after Chicago and Dallas. Hispanic students are concentrated in Washington Heights and Corona. Asian students dominate in Chinatown. The Times reported that the greatest segregation is in black neighborhoods. It further noted that black isolation in schools has persisted even as residential segregation has declined.
Many school buildings are architecturally noteworthy, in part due to the efforts of C. B. J. Snyder.
The Department has closed many failing elementary, middle (intermediate) and high schools. The buildings of some of the larger schools have been turned into "Campuses" or "Complexes" in which a number of smaller school entities, educationally independent of each other, co-exist within the building.
Radio and television stations
The Board operated radio station WNYE beginning in 1938, from studios located within the campus of Brooklyn Technical High School. Television station WNYE-TV went on the air in 1967, with its studios adjacent to George Westinghouse High School in Downtown Brooklyn. The broadcast licenses of both stations were transferred to the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications in 2004.
Although the 2002 reform legislation made no specific reference to a "Department of Education", the bylaws subsequently adopted by the New York City Board of Education provided that the board "shall be known as the Panel for Educational Policy", which together with the Chancellor and other school employees was designated as the "Department of Education of the City of New York".
Panel for Educational Policy
The Panel for Educational Policy has authority to approve school closings. A majority of its membership is appointed by the Mayor.
Community Education Councils
There are 32 councils, with 11 members on each, 2 appointed by Borough Presidents and 9 selected by PTA leaders who are advised by parents who live in the council districts, the local parents acting through an election process conducted online and overseen by the Department of Education. The 2009 election cost $650,000 to conduct and another election was held in 2011.
According to Beth Fertig, Community Education Councils are "supposed to provide an avenue for parent engagement." According to Tim Kremer, head of the New York State School Boards Association, "although education councils don't have a lot of power they can play a vital role in vetting budgets and giving feedback on instructional policies." Councils have some veto power. The councils were created in 2002 and their authority was increased "a little" in 2009, but, according to Fertig, "many parents still claim the councils don't matter because decisions are ultimately controlled by the mayor." According to Soni Sangha, the councils are mainly obscure and unknown to many parents, their forums are not well-attended, and they meet with the citywide schools chancellor.
Analysis and criticism
New York is one of ten major U.S. cities in which the educational system is under the control of the mayor rather than an elected school board.
More recently, Mayor Bill DiBlasio has received major criticism over his decision to accept proposals by charter schools to co-locate with public schools, specifically Seth Low IS and Cavallaro IS. Many people expressed shock and disappointment at the decision, claiming that co-location leads to congestion of school streets, overcrowded classrooms, strained resources, and a negative impact on children’s education.
Beginning in the late 1960s, schools were grouped into districts. Elementary schools and middle schools were grouped into 32 community school districts, and high schools were grouped into five geographically larger districts: One each for Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, one for most of Brooklyn, and one, BASIS, for the rest of Brooklyn and all of Staten Island. In addition there were several special districts for alternative schools and schools serving severely disabled students. While the districts no longer exist, the former district of a school is often used as an identifier.
In 1969, on the heels of a series of strikes and demands for community control, New York City Mayor John Lindsay relinquished mayoral control of schools, and organized the city school system into the Board of Education (made up of seven members appointed by borough presidents and the mayor) and 32 community school boards (whose members were elected). Elementary and middle schools were controlled by the community boards, while high schools were controlled by the Board of Education.
In 2002, the city's school system was reorganized by chapter 91 of the Laws of 2002. Control of the school system was given to the mayor, who began reorganization and reform efforts. The community school boards were abolished and the Board of Education was renamed the Panel for Educational Policy, a twelve-member body of which seven members are appointed by the mayor and five by Borough Presidents. Although that legislation itself made no specific reference to a "Department of Education of the City of New York", the bylaws subsequently adopted by the Board provided that the 13-member body "shall be known as the Panel for Educational Policy", which together with the Chancellor and other school employees was designated as the "Department of Education of the City of New York". The education headquarters were moved from 110 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn to the Tweed Courthouse building adjacent to New York City Hall in Manhattan.
In 2003, the districts were grouped into ten regions, each encompassing several elementary and middle school districts, and part of a high school district. In 2005, several schools joined the Autonomous Zone (later Empowerment Zone) and were allowed to use part of their budgets to directly purchase support services. These schools were released from their regions. In 2007, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced the dissolution of the regions effective June 2007, and schools became organized into one of the following School Support Organizations:
Due to an ongoing power struggle between the Democratic and Republican parties, state senators failed to renew mayoral control of the city's school system by 12:00 a.m. EDT on July 1, 2009, immediately ceding control back to the pre-2002 Board of Education system. Mayor Bloomberg announced summer school sessions would be held without interruption while city attorneys oversaw the transition of power. On August 6, 2009, the state senate ratified the bill returning control of the schools back to the mayor for another six years with few changes from the 2002-2009 mayoral control structure.
Mayoral control status
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio retains control over the New York City Public Schools, due to state lawmakers granting two one year extensions, currently valid through the end of June 2017. "While one-year extensions are no way to treat our children, families, families or educators," said De Blasio, “this action is a crucial acknowledgment by State lawmakers that the education progress we have made in New York City could not have happened without our accountable control of the school system.” The deal includes provisions which require release of more detailed budget information about the New York City schools, according to information sent out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. Lawmakers also agreed to give districts until the end of the year to negotiate details of new evaluation systems for teachers and principals.The deal also will allow charter schools to more easily switch between authorizers. That could mean the city’s education department, which oversees a number of charter schools (but which no longer accepts oversight of new schools) could see some of these schools depart in the future for oversight by State University of New York or the New York State Education Department.