A reader in New York City has been studying the New York City Department of Education website. She keeps coming up with intriguing findings. Here are some of them:
A recent post on Diane Ravitch’s blog and a recent article in the New York Times Magazine got me curious. I wondered: Do New York City’s education policy makers really put children first? Are they doing all they can to make sure every single student succeeds, no matter their social or economic environment? Do they follow their own rhetoric?
We know that they blame teachers when students living in deep poverty do not graduate high school. But what are they doing to support public schools that serve the neediest students? Are they providing “fair student funding” as they claim?
I pulled school budget numbers from the New York City Department of Education’s own web site. I also pulled a list of the 10 high schools serving the most academically privileged students on entry and the 10 schools serving the most academically under-privileged students on entry using numbers (they call it a “peer-index”) from their own web site. I want to make clear that these students are identified based on their performance prior to entering these high schools. The high schools themselves are not “responsible” for this particular measure.
What did I find?
The schools serving the most academically privileged students received over 99.5% of the funds the city’s own formula entitles them to. The schools serving the most academically under-privileged receive 82.3% of the funds they are entitled to.
Let’s repeat that: The high schools that admit the most struggling students receive 17% less funding than they are entitled to BY THE CITY’S OWN FORMULA than high schools that admit the most academically privileged students. How is this fair? And how will this help schools that take on the most challenging work in education help these kids? Whose needs are being put first?