New York City Department of Education
Learn more about New York City Department of Education
The New York City Department of Education is the branch of municipal government in New York City that manages the city's public school system. The school district these schools form is the largest district in the United States. Over 1 million students are taught in more than 1,200 separate schools. The department covers all five boroughs of New York City.
Because of its immense size - there are more students in the system than people in eight U.S. states - the New York City public school system is the most influential in the United States. New experiments in education, text book revisions, and new teaching methods must work in New York to be viable in the rest of the country.
New York is one of seven states that mandates that Holocaust and genocide studies be taught at some point in their elementary or secondary schools' curriculum. These issues are incorporated into social studies, ethics, or literature classes in the New York City schools.
The school district was once called the New York City Board of Education. The 2003 district reorganization changed its name to the Department of Education.
The city made an effort to reduce obesity and improve nutrition for the city's public schoolchildren. White bread was entirely replaced with whole wheat bread, frankfurter buns and hamburger buns in cafeterias during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's first term. In 2006 the city set out to eliminate whole milk from cafeteria lunch menus. It also took the further step of banning low-fat flavored milks, allowing only chocolate skim as an alternative, which made the new policy one of the strictest in the country. The New York City school system purchases more milk than any other in the United States. The national dairy industry aggressively fought the new standards, but ultimately lost. It was afraid that a change of policy in the nation's largest school district would ultimately reduce overall milk consumption nationally, as other large school districts looked to New York for an example. New experiments in education, text book revisions, and new teaching methods are similarly contested by national groups who view the New York City school system as a standard bearer.
The city has embraced the philosophy of the small schools movement, phasing out large high schools that are phasing, and phasing in a number of new, smaller schools, each of which takes up part of a floor or wing of the old building. A number of older high schools have been recreated as large "educational campuses" housing 5-8 small schools, which often share sports teams and other extracurricular activities that a school of 400 students could not support on its own.
The city has a chronic teacher shortage in every subject, but most strongly in science, math, ESL, and special education. In 2001, after experiments with hiring uncertified teachers to fulfill a massive teacher shortage failed to produce acceptable results, and responding to pressure from the No Child Left Behind Act, the DOE instituted a number of innovative programs for teacher recruitment. These include the New York City Teaching Fellows, the TOP Scholars Program, and a number of 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.
40% of students in the city's public school system live in households where a language other than English is spoken; one-third of all New Yorkers were born in another country. The city's Department of Education translates report cards, registration forms, systemwide alerts, and documents on health and policy initiatives for parents into Spanish, Chinese, Urdu, Russian, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Korean, and Arabic.
Over all, Hispanic students are the largest group in the city’s schools at 36.7%, and black students are next at 34.7%. The 1.1 million-student system is 14.3% Asian and 14.2% white.
However, at the city's most elite, competitive public high schools, the student demographics are different. In the 2005-6 school year, blacks made up 4.8% of the Bronx Science student body, down from 11.8% in 1994-95. At Brooklyn Technical High School, the percentage of black students declined in 2005-06 to 14.9% from 37.3% 11 years ago, and at Stuyvesant High School, blacks comprised 2.2% of the student body, down from 4.4%. Hispanic enrollment has declined at the three schools and white enrollment has declined at two of the three. At the same time, the Asian population has soared to 60.6% at Bronx Science, up from 40.8% 11 years ago. Check the specialized schools' individual entries for more specific information on demographics. Education experts suggest the demographics of these elite specialized high schools are influenced by the use of competitive entrance exams as the sole criteria for admission.
New York’s Specialized High School Institute is an eighteen-month-long summer and after-school program for students in late middle school. It was designed to enlarge the pool of black and Hispanic candidates eligible for admission to the selective schools by giving them extra lessons and test-taking tips, without resorting to the kinds of preferences that have drawn lawsuits in other school districts such as in San Francisco Unified School District.
Each house or residential area in New York City is zoned to an elementary school and a middle school. All high schools pupils instead must complete applications to the high schools of their choice. All of Staten Island and portions of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx have zoned high schools, while Manhattan and portions of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx do not have zoned high schools.
The New York City Board of Education has ten "regions".
- Region 1: Bronx
- Region 2: Bronx
- Region 3: Queens
- Region 4: Queens
- Region 5: Queens
- Region 6: Brooklyn
- Region 7: Brooklyn and Staten Island
- Region 8: Brooklyn
- Region 9: Manhattan and Bronx
- Region 10: Manhattan
 Radio and television stations
The department operates a television station called WNYE-TV. It is on channel 25.
The department operates an FM station called WNYE.
 See also
- List of high schools in New York City
- New York State Education Department
- Specialized high schools
- Tweed Courthouse