The coronavirus is presenting great challenges to Gotham’s educators, students and their families. But this, too, shall pass, and we will return to the unending task of improving our schools — the only difference being that our neediest students might be even needier after the economic dust settles.
But to know where we need to go post-virus, we need to know where we are now. My latest report for the Manhattan Institute examines the performance of city schools — both district and charter — on state assessments as well as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP.
First, the good news. The heat of education-policy battles aside, we have much to be proud of. Overall, New York City’s schools aren’t failing. Our public-school system, the largest in the country, scores at or above the average for the state.
That hasn’t always been the case, and it reflects improvements on testing, especially in the third to eighth grades, that are both widespread and 20 years in the making. If each of the city’s five counties had its own school system, four, all but The Bronx, would be among the top-scoring counties in the state. The interracial achievement gap notwithstanding, students in each racial or ethnic group score higher in the city’s district schools than they do in district schools in the rest of the state.
Ray Domanico is a senior fellow and director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute. This piece is based on his new report, “NYC Student Achievement: What State and National Test Scores Reveal.”
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