The Schott Foundation’s Education Redlining report offers several recommendations for how New York City can improve education outcomes for all of its students by providing equitable access to the DOE’s best schools and programs:
The State of New York, which is legally responsible for providing a “sound basic education” to all children (Court of Appeals, CFE v. State of New York; November, 2006), has dramatically cut school aid over the past two years, in effect reversing the impacts of the CFE investments. NYS should restore and increase funding in accordance with the CFE decision.
- The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) should adopt policies that pro- vide equitable access to the Department’s best schools and programs. For example:
- All New York City middle schools should offer the courses necessary for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) (e.g., Algebra II). If it is determined that extracurricular tutoring confers a competitive advantage for the SHSAT, it should be offered gratis to all students eligible for free and reduced-price meal programs.
- The Gifted & Talented Program Test should be administered to all prospective kindergarten students. If it is determined that extracurricular tutoring confers a competitive advantage for the Gifted & Talented Program Test, it should be offered gratis to all students eligible for free or reduced price meal programs.
- New York State and City Departments of Education should direct additional resources to schools on a non-competitive basis in accordance with student need: schools serving students from homes with fewer resources should receive significantly more per student funding than those serving students from homes with greater resources. The system currently in place is not adequate to this purpose.
- Each student who is currently a grade level or more behind in Reading should immediately be given a Personal Opportunity Plan that gives the student access to additional academic (tutor, extended day learning, ELL), social (mentor) and health supports (eye sight, dental, mental health) necessary to bring the student to grade level proficiency within a 12 to 24 month period.
- Every school should have an opportunity audit to determine if it has the supports and interagency relationships to offer each student a fair and substantive opportunity to learn, through access to high-quality early childhood education, highly prepared and effective teachers, college preparatory curricula, and policies and practices that promote student progress and success.
- The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) should set as a goal to bring every school’s Opportunity to Learn Index (or the equivalent) to no less than a .80 by 2015 and 1.0, like CSD 26, by 2020.
- The New York City Department of Education should set a maximum level for the percentage of teachers with less than three years of teaching experience in districts with current Opportunity to Learn Indexes below 0.50 (or the equivalent). That percentage should be no higher than the average percentage with less than three years of experience in the top five highest performing district in the state. The Department should also take steps to reverse the salary gap recently identified by the U. S. Department of Education between teachers in high and low poverty schools.