New York City Department of Education

New York City Department of Education
New York City Department of Education
Type and location
Type Public
Country United States
Location New York City
District Info
Budget US$21 billion (2009)[1]
Students and staff
Students 1,100,000[1]
Teachers 80,000[1]
Other information
Schools 1,700[1]
Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott
Teachers' unions United Federation of Teachers
New York State United Teachers
American Federation of Teachers
National Education Association

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. It is the largest school system in the United States, with over 1.1 million students taught in more than 1,700 separate schools.[1] The department covers all five boroughs of New York City.

The department is run by the New York City Schools Chancellor. The current chancellor is Dennis M. Walcott, who replaced Cathie Black after she stepped down after fewer than one hundred days on the job.

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 arguably the most influential in the United States.



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

In 1969, on the heels of a series of strikes and demands for community control, 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.[2]

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 Panel for Educational Policy, a twelve-member body of which seven members are appointed by the mayor and five by Borough Presidents.[3] 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.[2][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] On August 6, 2009, the state senate ratified the bill returning control of the schools back to the mayor for another six years with few changes from the 2002-2009 mayoral control structure.[6]

New York is one of ten major U.S. cities in which the educational system is under the control of the mayor rather than an elected school board.[7] In 2011, Panel for Educational Policy member Patrick Sullivan (who was appointed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in 2007[8]) suggested changing the system to have only six mayoral appointees, and that appointees should have fixed terms; additionally, he stated "For us not to have the same role in our kids' education as people who live in the suburbs or Middle America is patronizing."[9]

Organizational history

Beginning in the late 1960s, 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.[10] While the districts no longer exist, the former district of a school is often used as an identifier.

In 2003, the districts were grouped into ten regions, each encompassing several elementary and middle school districts, and part of a high school district.[10] 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[11]:

  • 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


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 [12], the TOP Scholars Program, and 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.[13]


About 1.1 million students attend New York City public schools. There are about 635,000 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.[14]

About 40% 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.

In 2007, Hispanics and Latino students made up 39.4% of the student population. African Americans made up 32.2% of the student population. European American and Asian American students made up 14.2% and 13.7% of the student populace respectively. Native Americans made up the remaining 0.4% of the student body.[15]

The specialized high schools tend to be disproportionately Caucasian and Asian. New York's Specialized High School Institute is an after-school program for students in late middle school.[16] It was designed to enlarge the pool of African American and Hispanic candidates eligible for admission to the selective schools by giving them extra lessons and teaching test-taking skills.[17] 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, in part due to the efforts of C. B. J. Snyder. Some are historically important, or are named after noteworthy people.

  • P.S. 11 - Purvis J. Behan Public School, named for a principal.
  • P.S. 53 - Bay Terrace School is in Bay Terrace, Staten Island.
  • 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. On 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.[18]

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[19] . 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[20]. 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[19]. Reduced Fat Doritos are considered a healthy snack by the DOE based on its June 2009 request for healthy snack vending machine proposals[21]. The NYC school lunch menu contains numerous highly processed foods and high sugar content foods including chicken nuggets, French fries, French toast and syrup[22]. NYC also continues to fail to meet the mandatory physical education requirements of NY State[23], and NYC DOE has failed to maintain or improve playgrounds instead turning them into ad-hoc additional classroom space or parking lots[24].

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.[25]

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.

See also

Portal icon New York City portal
Portal icon Schools portal


  1. ^ a b c d e New York City Department of Education - About Us. NYC Department of Education. 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2011 
  2. ^ a b Hartocollis, Anemona (June 7, 2002). "CONSENSUS ON CITY SCHOOLS: HISTORY; Growing Outrage Leads Back to Centralized Leadership". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Goodnough, Abby (2002-09-24), "A New Sort of School Board, Bland and Calm", New York Times,, retrieved 2011-09-12 
  4. ^ "The great experiment". The Economist: pp. 35–36. November 10, 2007 
  5. ^ "NY Senate Confusion Continues". June 30, 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2009. 
  6. ^ Medina, Jennifer (August 7, 2009). "N.Y. Senate Renews Mayor’s Power to Run Schools". New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ Favro, Tony. "US mayors are divided about merits of controlling schools". Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  8. ^ "Borough President Stringer Announces Appointment to Panel for Educational Policy" (Press release). Scott Stringer. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  9. ^ Featherstone, Liza (September 2011), "Report Card: Our Fake School Board", Brooklyn Rail,, retrieved 2011-09-12 
  10. ^ a b Yet Another Reorganization of New York City's Public Schools - Center for New York Affairs]
  11. ^ "School Support Organizations". New York City Department of Education. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  12. ^ Goodnough, Abby (August 23, 2002). "Shortage Ends As City Lures New Teachers". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. (April 19, 2006). "New York Offers Housing Subsidy as Teacher Lure". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ "40 percent of kids in N.Y. overweight". Burlington, Vermont: Burlington Free Press. 5 September 2010. pp. 2A. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Specialized High Schools Institute". New York City Department of Education. March 11, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ UFT and DOE reach agreement on ATRs - United Federation of Teachers
  19. ^ a b Medina, Jennifer (October 3, 2009). "A Crackdown on Bake Sales in City Schools". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Hamacher, Brian (May 5, 2008). "Schools Fail Pe Requirements". New York Post. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "About NYC Media". NYC Media (City of New York). Retrieved 2010-05-27. 

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