Across New York State, only 40 percent of ninth-grade students graduate from high school on time and with the skills they need to succeed in college and the workforce. New York’s public schools are the most segregated in the nation. And gaps in educational justice characterize every stage of the education pipeline — from inequitable access to quality early care and learning; to K-12 public schools, where large gaps in funding continue unabated and higher standards remain under attack; to a higher education system where the route to successful degree attainment is essentially blocked for the students who need it the most.

Our new report, Achievement and Opportunity in New York State, describes the current state of our education system and offers a series of recommendations for improving equity, achievement, and opportunity.

What is the state of education in New York today?

  • New York trails most of the country on reading and math achievement, and its performance relative to other states is declining.
  • Even within New York, large achievement gaps separate the “haves” from the “have-nots,” providing a clear picture of inequity from the earliest grades through high school graduation.
  • New York is investing the least resources in the students and communities with the greatest needs, depriving low-income students and students of color of the educational opportunities that can transform their lives.
  • New York’s resource gaps and uneven academic expectations quickly become opportunity gaps for students, who lose access to higher level courses and advanced learning opportunities that prepare them for college and high-skill careers.
  • Inequitable access to excellent teachers and school leaders further institutionalizes the state’s achievement and opportunity gaps.
  • While leading states and school districts are developing new ways to create a positive school climate, too many New York schools still rely on ineffective and disproportionate disciplinary policies.
  • The problems don’t stop at the end of high school. Too few New York students make it to college and even fewer make it successfully through college to earn a degree or industry credential and achieve standing in the workforce.

Where do we go from here?

We will encourage policymakers to advance four broad strategies that are essential to improving achievement and success in New York:

  • High-quality early care and education for all children
  • Equitable implementation of high standards for college and career readiness
  • Opportunities for all students to learn and succeed
  • College access, affordability, and completion… and workforce success