New York City Department of Education: Wikis


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Type Public
Budget US$17 billion (2007)[1]
Students 1,042,277[1]
Teachers 80,000[1]
Schools 1450[1]
Chancellor Joel I. Klein
Teachers' unions United Federation of Teachers
New York State United Teachers
American Federation of Teachers
Location New York City
United States

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is the branch of municipal government in New York City that manages the city's public school system. These schools form the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,600 separate schools.[2] The department covers all five boroughs of New York City.

The department is run by the New York City School Chancellor. The current chancellor is Joel I. Klein, appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2002.

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 often originate in New York and then spread to the rest of the country. To keep track of the large amount of student and school data, the Department uses the powerful Automate The Schools (ATS) system.



As of 2008 the former Tweed Courthouse serves as the DOE headquarters
110 Livingston Street previously served as the BOE headquarters

In 1969, New York City Mayor John Lindsay relinquished mayoral control of schools, and organized the city school system into the Board of Education (made up of seven members appointed by borough presidents and the mayor) and 32 community school boards (whose members were elected). Elementary and middle schools were controlled by the community boards, while high schools were controlled by the Board of Education.

In 2002, the city's school system was reorganized. Control of the school system was given to the mayor, who began reorganization and reform efforts. The community school boards were abolished and the Board of Education was renamed the Department of Education. The education headquarters were moved from 110 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn to the Tweed Courthouse building adjacent to New York City Hall in Manhattan.[3][4]

Due to an ongoing power struggle between the Democratic and Republican parties, state senators failed to renew mayoral control of the city's school system by 12:00 a.m. EDT on July 1, 2009, immediately ceding control back to the pre-2002 Board of Education system. Mayor Bloomberg announced summer school sessions would be held without interruption while city attorneys oversaw the transition of power.[5]

Schools and organization

Each residential area in New York City is zoned to an elementary school and a middle school. High schools in Staten Island and portions of Brooklyn and Queens are zoned. High schools in the Bronx, Manhattan and portions of Brooklyn and Queens are not zoned. Instead, students must apply to the high schools of their choice. Schools are supervised by community district and high school superintendents, who report to the chancellor.

The city has embraced the philosophy of the small schools movement, phasing out large high schools 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.

Several specialized high schools in New York City exist, and these are considered elite public schools. Most of these (Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Technical, Brooklyn Latin, High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, and Staten Island Technical High School) admit student on the basis of performance in a competitive entrance examination, the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. The ninth specialized high school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, admits students on the basis of audition and portfolio submission rather than by examination. Other magnet high schools exist, such as Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, Queens.


Organizational history

From the late 1960s through 2003, schools were grouped into districts. Elementary schools and middle schools were grouped into 32 community school districts, and high schools were grouped into five geographically larger districts: One each for Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, one for most of Brooklyn, and one, BASIS, for the rest of Brooklyn and all of Staten Island). In addition there were several special districts for alternative schools and schools serving severely disabled students. While the districts no longer exist, the former district of a school is often used as an identifier.

In 2003 the districts were replaced by ten regions, each encompassing several elementary and middle school districts, and part of a high school district. In 2005, several schools joined the Autonomous Zone (later Empowerment Zone) and were allowed to use part of their budgets to directly purchase support services. These schools were released from their regions.

In 2007, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced the dissolution of the regions effective June 2007. At that time, schools became organized into one of the following School Support Organizations[6]:

  • Empowerment Support Organization
  • Learning Support Organization
    • Community LSO
    • Integrated Curriculum and Instruction LSO
    • Knowledge Network LSO
    • Leadership LSO
  • Partnership Support Organization
    • Academy for Educational Development PSO
    • Center for Educational Innovation Public Education Association PSO
    • CUNY Center for School Support and Success PSO
    • Fordham University PSO
    • New Visions for Public Schools PSO
    • Replications, Inc. PSO


The city has a chronic teacher shortage in every subject, but most strongly in bilingual education, science, math, ESL, and special education.

Beginning in 2000, after experiments with hiring uncertified teachers to fulfill a massive teacher shortage failed to produce acceptable results, and responding to pressure from the New York State Board of Regents and the No Child Left Behind Act, the DOE instituted a number of innovative programs for teacher recruitment, including the New York City Teaching Fellows [1], 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.


About 1.1 million students attend New York City public schools. About 40 percent of students in the city's public school system live in households where a language other than English is spoken, and one-third of all New Yorkers were born in another country. The city's Department of Education translates report cards, registration forms, system-wide alerts, and documents on health and policy initiatives for parents into Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Urdu, Persian, Hindi, Russian, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Korean, and Arabic.

The racial makeup of public school students is 36.7 percent Hispanic, 34.7 percent black, 14.3 percent Asian, and 14.2 percent white.

The specialized high schools tend to be disproportionately white and Asian. New York's Specialized High School Institute is an after-school program for students in late middle school.[7] 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 teaching test-taking skills.[8] Unlike other urban school districts (such as San Francisco Unified School District), New York does not use racial preferences (affirmative action) in public school admissions.

School buildings

Many school buildings are architecturally noteworthy, historically important, or are named after noteworthy people.

  • PS 11 - Purvis J. Behan Public School. This school is located at 419 Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn. According to the newspaper Brooklyn Daily Eagle of April 30, 1902, Purvis J. Behan was at the time the principal of PS 45 on nearby Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn. According to the paper, Behan had two teenage boys from the neighborhood arrested for blowing "putty balls" and peas into an open window of his own school. The two boys were convicted by the local magistrate.
  • P.S. 53 - Bay Terrace School. The neighborhood of Bay Terrace is known for its well kept homes, basketball hoops and driveways with wide streets. Bay Terrace School was built in 1966 and feels like suburban New Jersey. It features bright murals, decorative walls, and the main office is painted pink and purple. The main entrance displays shoebox dioramas, lovely constructed replicas of kindergartners favorite places: the zoo, mall, and the museum.
  • P.S. 67 is located at 51 St. Edwards St. in Brooklyn, New York. The school was named after Charles A. Dorsey, who became the principal in 1863. The name was changed in Brooklyn's school records from Colored School Number One to PS 67 in 1887.

The Department has closed many failing elementary, intermediate and high schools. Veteran teachers have lost their positions in the course of the school reorganizations from the school closings. These teachers then enter a pool of substitutes, called the Absent Teacher Reserve. In November 19, 2008, the Department and the city's teacher union (the United Federation of Teachers), reached an agreement to create financial incentives for principals of new schools to hire ATR teachers and guidance counselors.[9]

Health and nutrition

The city has made an effort to reduce childhood obesity among students by promoting exercise and improving nutrition in school cafeterias.

During Mayor Bloomberg's first term, white bread was entirely replaced with whole wheat bread, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns in cafeterias. In 2006, the city set out to eliminate whole milk from cafeteria lunch menus and took the further step of banning low-fat flavored milks, allowing only skim milk (white and chocolate). The New York City school system purchases more milk than any other in the United States; although the dairy industry aggressively lobbied against the new plan they ultimately failed to prevent its implementation.

In October 2009 the DOE banned Bake Sales[10] . The DOE cited the high sugar content of baked sale goods and that 40% of NYC students are obese. Meanwhile vending machines in the schools operated by Frito Lay and Snapple continue to sell high processed empty calorie foods such as Doritos and Juices. Contracts for the vending machines were awarded in no-bid deals through Mayor Bloomberg's office[11]. As part of the DOE's ambition to create healthy diets among students, as of October 2009 Frito Lay will have to put Reduced Fat Doritos in machines[10]. Reduced Fat Doritos are considered a healthy snack by the DOE based on its June 2009 request for healthy snack vending machine proposals[12]. While Bake Sale goods tend to focus on sweets, home made bake sale goods consist of natural ingredients like real sugar. In contrast the NYC school lunch menu contains numerous highly processed foods and high sugar content foods including Chicken Nuggets, French Fries, French Toast and Syrup[13]. NYC also continues to fail to meet the mandatory physical education requirements of NY State[14], and NYC DOE has failed to maintain or improve playgrounds instead turning them into ad-hoc additional classroom space or parking lots[15].

Radio and television stations

The department operated television station WNYE-TV from 1967 to 2004. A new education channel, Channel 25, is now operated by the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

The department operates the FM radio station WNYE.

Both broadcasts were transmitted from the large antennae on Brooklyn Technical High School, which was also the other working antennae in the city capable of transmitting signals from television and radio stations across New York City after the World Trade Center Building No. 2 had fallen, leaving many stations unable to broadcast for a few hours before they could move the signal.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d New York City Department of Education - District Profile, The Broad Prize for Urban Education, 2007,, retrieved October 17, 2008  
  2. ^ About Us, New York City Department of Education,, retrieved September 26, 2007  
  3. ^ "The great experiment", The Economist: 35–36, November 10, 2007  
  4. ^ Hartocollis, Anemona (June 7, 2002). "CONSENSUS ON CITY SCHOOLS: HISTORY; Growing Outrage Leads Back to Centralized Leadership". The New York Times.  
  5. ^ "NY Senate Confusion Continues". June 30, 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2009.  
  6. ^ "School Support Organizations". New York City Department of Education. Retrieved August 13, 2009.  
  7. ^ "Specialized High Schools Institute". New York City Department of Education. March 11, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.  
  8. ^ Gootman, Elissa (August 18, 2006). "In Elite N.Y. Schools, a Dip in Blacks and Hispanics - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2009.  
  9. ^ UFT and DOE reach agreement on ATRs - United Federation of Teachers
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links


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