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Spotlight on NYC Schools

Data Analyses and Visualizations

The Research Alliance’s Spotlight on NYC Schools series offers short, digestible data analyses and visualizations designed to inform dialogue about education in New York City. We hope Spotlight posts serve as conversation starters, stoke interest in rigorous education research, and encourage readers to think about how data and evidence might be brought to bear on important issues in the City.

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Who Chooses Career and Technical Education in NYC?

While CTE has been the focus of increased attention and investment in recent years, we know relatively little about student “demand” for CTE. Which students are interested in and applying to CTE programs? And how are these students different (if at all) from those who prefer more traditional high school options?

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How Has the Supply of Career and Technical Education Changed Over Time in NYC?

This Spotlight post describes the landscape of CTE programs in NYC during the last decade—including the number of programs being offered, the proportion of programs in CTE-dedicated versus traditional academic high schools, and the representation of various career themes.

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Mapping Racially Representative Schools

In our last Spotlight post on school segregation, we showed how different definitions provide very different pictures of segregation across NYC. Schools that appear “racially representative” when compared to their Community School District (CSD), for example, can be racially isolated when compared to their borough or the...

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Which Schools Are "Racially Representative?" It Depends on the Definition You Use

The New York City public school population is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse in the country. Yet the entrenched racial and socio-economic segregation of City schools has been the object of increasing attention. During the last two years, the NYC DOE has made fostering school diversity—broadly defined—a central pillar of its agenda...

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How Have Links Between Neighborhood Poverty and Education Outcomes Changed Over Time?

Education outcomes in New York City have improved dramatically for ­students of various backgrounds and abilities. Yet, as we documented in previous posts in this series, there are still large disparities associated with students’ race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and neighborhood.

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Where Are NYC Schools Serving the Highest Concentrations of Homeless Students?

The total size of the homeless student population in NYC is growing. In the 2012-2013 school year, for example, there were 34,120 homeless elementary students; in 2017-2018, this number had increased to 44,010. In our recent brief on young students who experience homelessness, we found that homeless students were not evenly distributed...

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How Have ELA and Math Achievement Levels Changed Over Time?

As part of a series examining progress and disparities in New York City schools, this Spotlight post focuses on trends over time in standardized test scores for elementary and middle school students. As seen in the slideshow below, since 2000, achievement in math and English Language Arts (ELA) in grades 3 through 8 have...

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How Has Attendance in NYC Schools Changed Over Time?

As part of a series examining progress and disparities in New York City schools, this Spotlight post focuses on trends in student attendance. The slides below explore citywide rates of attendance and chronic absenteeism each year between 2000 and 2018. As seen in Slide 1, average attendance rates increased by about 3 percentage points during this period.

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How Have NYC’s High School Graduation and College Enrollment Rates Changed Over Time?

The first in a series examining progress and disparities in New York City schools, this Spotlight post focuses on trends in high school graduation and college enrollment. To understand students’ pathways through high school and into postsecondary education, this analysis follows students who began 9th grade in a NYC high school in a given year

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How Have Key Student Outcomes Changed in NYC Schools?

The Research Alliance was founded in 2008 to provide rigorous, nonpartisan evidence about the problems facing New York City’s public schools—and about the impact of policies and practices designed to address those problems. Since that time, we have conducted studies on a wide range of topics, carried out fieldwork in hundreds of NYC schools, surveyed tens of thousands of students...

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How Do Elementary-Aged Students in New York City Experience Homelessness?

Increasing numbers of children in New York City are experiencing homelessness. As we show in Figure 1, almost one in ten elementary school-aged children—or more than 45,000 students—experienced homelessness in 2016-2017, up from 7.5 percent (or just over 34,000 students) five years earlier.

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Police Exposure Among School-Aged Youth in New York City

Over the last few decades, cities across the United States have adopted proactive or broken windows policing strategies. As a consequence of these changes, an increasing number of minority youth are in contact with the criminal justice system. In New York City, the police conducted more than 4 million pedestrian stops between 2004 and 2012...

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What percentage of NYC’s students with disabilities are served in inclusive settings? Exploring equity and changes over time.

Beginning in 1975, federal law guaranteed all U.S. children with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate public education. Building on this law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 explicitly mandated that students with disabilities be served in the “least restrictive” educational environment...

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What are the contours of NYC’s Special Education landscape?

In New York City, more than 200,000 public school students are eligible for special education, as indicated by having an Individualized Education Program (IEP).[1] IEPs are written documents that outline educational goals, required special education services, and other information for any public school student with a disability.

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How Far Do NYC Students Travel to Get to School?

Public school students in New York City have a wide range of educational options available to them. This includes traditional neighborhood zoned schools, magnet and Gifted & Talented programs, dual language schools, charter schools, exam-based specialized high schools, and more than 750 programs

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NYC Public Schools: What Does it Mean to be the Nation’s Largest School District?

During the 2016-17 school year, there were over a million students who were enrolled in a New York City public school. As is frequently pointed out, NYC has the largest school district in the country. But what does this mean in relative terms?

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How Have the Rates at Which Students Are Graduating in Four Years, Dropping Out, or “Persisting” in NYC High Schools Changed Over Time?

There is much to celebrate in New York City’s rising high school graduation rate—over the past decade, the percentage of students who earn their diploma in four years has steadily increased, and rates of college enrollment have largely kept pace.

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Understanding School Survey Response Rates

Each year since 2006, the NYC Department of Education (NYC DOE) has distributed an annual School Survey to all students in grades 6-12, as well as all teachers and parents in the district. This survey—the largest education census in the United States—provides important information about the school climate in the district’s 1,800 schools.

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Where Do Puerto Rican Students Live in New York City?

Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rican homes, infrastructure, and lives. New York City is home to the largest Puerto Rican population of any city in the world, and many students of Puerto Rican descent attend our schools. A substantial number of these students, and their families and communities, have already have been impacted...

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Have Students Become More or Less Likely to Change Schools?

The movement of students from school to school—which researchers refer to as “mobility”—is pervasive across urban school districts in the United States. For mobile students, changing schools and neighborhoods can disrupt the learning process. For schools, high student turnover can undermine efforts to build a cohesive and supportive community.

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Who Are the “Diversity in Admissions” Pilot Schools?

In June 2017, the NYC DOE released a diversity plan, which included the creation of a School Diversity Advisory Group, an outline of a community engagement process, and a commitment to the following district-wide goals: Increasing the number of students in “racially representative” [1] schools by 50,000 over the next five years;

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How Many Male Teachers of Color Work in NYC?

In 2015, New York City launched “NYC Men Teach,” an initiative aiming to “put an additional 1,000 men of color on course to become NYC public school teachers over the next three years.” The initiative comes in response to a growing body of evidence...

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What is the Gender Breakdown of NYC Teachers?

From 2003-2004 to 2015-2016, the size of NYC’s teacher workforce remained relatively stable, hovering around 75,000. During this time, the proportions of men and women shifted, but only slightly. Women made up 74.6% of the City’s teacher workforce in 2003-2004, growing to 76.6% in 2015-2016.

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Suspensions are down. What does this mean for school safety?

The overall number of suspensions in NYC public schools has decreased dramatically. The odds that an individual student will be suspended have fallen too. For example, Research Alliance analyses show that in the 2008-2009 school year, 7.6% of first-time 9th graders were suspended at least once.

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Exploring Pathways to a College Degree

In New York City and around the country, education policy is increasingly focused not only on boosting college enrollment but also on raising the number of students who successfully complete college. This stems from a growing awareness of the pitfalls that many students face on their way to a college degree

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When Do Students Enter and Exit the NYC Public School System?

The figure below shows patterns of entry and exit from the NYC public school system for students who were born in 1996 (i.e., students scheduled to enter kindergarten in September 2001, and to graduate high school in June 2014).

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Trends in School Co-Locations in NYC

The practice of school co-location—when multiple schools are housed within a single building—has generated considerable controversy in New York City. Under the previous administration, policies that emphasized closing persistently low-performing schools (and in many cases, replacing them with a number of smaller schools in a single building) as well as the growth of charter schools

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How Does Concentrated Poverty Intersect with High School Choices?

In our report, High School Choice in NYC, the Research Alliance found—perhaps not surprisingly—that most students prefer to attend a high school that is relatively close to home. On average, rising 8th graders’ first-choice school was about a half an hour away by public transit.