RELEASE: Report Shows New York State Abandoning Students in Worst Performing Schools

New York

June 29, 2016


Report Shows New York State Abandoning Students in Worst Performing Schools

Education Reform Now uncovers little to no progress in educational achievement at NYS schools taken off the ‘struggling’ or ‘persistently struggling’ list

New York, NY – Today, Education Reform Now (ERN) released a new report, “School Interventions in New York State: Abandoning Students in Worst-Performing Schools,” which looks at educational attainment at the 70 New York State public schools taken off of the ‘struggling’ or ‘persistently struggling’ list and re-classified with higher quality designation.

ERN uncovers shockingly little – and in some cases no – progress at a vast majority of these schools upgraded by the New York State Education Department. Of the elementary and middle schools taken off the persistently struggling list, the average English/Language Arts (ELA) proficiency rate went from 7% students proficient in 2014 to just 9% proficient in 2015. A number of re-designated schools made zero progress in raising student proficiency or high school graduation rates, while a few actually saw declines on these outcomes.

This questionable re-rating of underperforming schools by the NYSED and Commissioner Elia isn’t just a matter of falsely advertising school quality – the implications run far deeper. State school quality designations typically drive much needed funding for targeted interventions designed to boost student success, raise high school graduation rates, and narrow achievement gaps. The assistance reserved for persistently struggling and struggling schools includes, for example, the provision of a full array of school-based resources to children and their families including health care, counseling, nutrition, and job preparation.

By prematurely re-classifying schools, the NYSED is cutting off critical assistance to our state’s students who need and deserve it the most.

The political pressures around these designations are complex, but if New York State continues in this manner, the state is almost certain to continue its slump in student academic progress of the past few years. And most importantly, New York’s children – particularly our low-income and minority students – will continue to suffer the consequences.

The report was co-authored by Nicole Brisbane, Marianne Lombardo, and Charles Barone of Education Reform Now. Find the full report online, here.


Education Reform Now is a non-profit think tank based in Washington, DC that aims to develop the next generation of progressive education ideas and leaders.