Equity and Excellence for All

Pre-k student in a classroomThe New York City Department of Education is committed to providing every single child, in every classroom, in every New York City public school, with a rigorous, inspiring, and nurturing learning experience. That is true regardless of family income, race, nationality, disability, language spoken at home, sexual orientation, or gender identification.

To fulfill that commitment, beginning in 2015 the DOE has pursued an agenda we call Equity and Excellence for All. It begins at the earliest ages with our nationally recognized 3-K and Pre-K for All initiatives, continues in elementary school with our early literacy program, and extends through middle and high school with efforts that include Computer Science for All, Algebra for All, AP for All, and College Access for All.

The Equity and Excellence for All agenda has been central to today’s improved student outcomes, including the highest-ever graduation and college enrollment rates, the lowest-ever dropout rate, and rising scores on state tests.

Here are the main elements of the Equity and Excellence for All agenda, including their goals and accomplishments to date:

3-K and Pre-K for All

The educational benefits to children of starting school in their early years have been widely established. Research has found that every dollar invested in high-quality early education saves taxpayers as much as $13 long-term. So beginning in the 2015-16 school year, New York City began offering free, full-day, high-quality Pre-K; starting in 2017-8, the same opportunity was extended to 3-year-olds.

By the Numbers

  • In 2018-19, about 68,000 students participated in Pre-K, up from approximately 19,000 prior to this administration.
  • In 2019-20, about 20,000 students in all five boroughs will participate in 3-K.
  • Latest state testing data shows that the third-graders who were part of the first Pre-K for All cohort had the highest proficiency rates of all grade levels and narrower achievement gaps.
  • Parents have saved an average of $10,000 annually in child care costs.

AP for All

In the past, many high schools offered few, if any, Advanced Placement courses. The AP for All initiative is radically changing that, while raising expectations of students, strengthening instruction, and creating a college-going culture in all schools.

By the Numbers

  • The number of students with access to Advanced Placement courses has increased from 160,000 to 226,000, with 75 percent of high school students having access to at least five AP classes.
  • In the first two years of the initiative, the number of students taking at least one AP exam increased by 92.1 percent and the number passing at least one AP test increased by 64.9 percent.

Computer Science for All

Developing strong computer skills is widely recognized as essential to thriving in today’s workforce. The Computer Science for All initiative, through an unprecedented public-private partnership with a wide range of foundations, corporations, nonprofits, families, and individuals, is enabling NYC public school students to receive a high quality Computer Science education at each school level. Learn more at CS4All.nyc.

By the Numbers

  • As of the 2018-19 school year, 160,000 students received Computer Science education, a 72 percent increase since the 2016-17 school year.
  • The number of students taking an AP Computer Science exam in 2018 rose to 5,190, more than a 400 percent increase from 2017.
  • NYC had a higher percentage of female, black, and Latino students take an AP Computer Science exam in 2018 than nationwide figures.

Universal Literacy

Studies show that students who are reading at grade level by the end of the second grade are far more likely to graduate from high school than those who aren’t. To significantly increase the share of students reaching that benchmark, the Universal Literacy initiative provides schools with support from a dedicated reading coach, who works with kindergarten through second grade teachers to ensure students are reading on grade level by the end of second grade.

By the Numbers

  • Nearly 500 Universal Literacy reading coaches now support elementary schools across the city.
  • Since the Universal Literacy initiative was launched, third grade reading proficiency on state tests has increased from 30.2 percent to 53.3 percent.

College Access for All - Middle School

Creating a school culture where students expect to go to college and receive exposure to opportunities after they graduate needs to begin before they even get to high school. The College Access for All – Middle School initiative provides all students with the opportunity to visit a college campus while participating in student and parent workshops focused on planning for high school and college.

By the Numbers

  • In partnership with CUNY, about 70,000 students visited college campuses during the past school year.

College Access for All - High School

To enable every high school student to be part of a true “college-ready” culture, the College Access for All – High School initiative aims to ensure that all students will have an individual college and career plan with access to resources that will support them in developing and pursuing that path.

The initiative has also eliminated the CUNY college application fee for low-income students, while making the SAT exam available free of charge during the school day for all high school juniors.

By the Numbers

  • Eighty percent of the class of 2018 took the SAT at least once, compared to 65.9 percent for the class of 2017.

Single Shepherd

To provide extra academic, social, and emotional support to students in historically under-served schools, Single Shepherd pairs every student in grades 6-12 in District 7 in the South Bronx and District 23 in Brownsville with a dedicated school counselor or social worker. Students paired with Single Shepherds reported in surveys that they felt more supported at school than before they gained access to the counselors.

By the Numbers

  • About 150 Single Shepherds serve approximately 15,000 grade 6-12 students at all 49 middle and high schools in Districts 7 and 23.

Algebra for All

To improve opportunities for students to excel in math, the Algebra for All initiative aims to enable every student to have access to algebra classes in eighth grade while having more support in earlier years to prepare them to succeed. To train more algebra teachers, the DOE has convened a summer institute followed by professional development throughout the school year.

By the Numbers

  • Nearly 400 teachers are on track to successfully complete advanced training.

District-Charter Partnerships

To foster collaborative relationships between district and charter schools, this initiative creates opportunities to share resources and best practices while working together to strengthen communities. Examples include co-located school building campus community and sharing practices; collaborative learning partnerships through the District-Charter Collaborative; the KIPP through College Summer Bridge program; and training through the DOE Uncommon Schools-Impact Partnership.

By the Numbers

  • Approximately 70 district and charter schools have worked together on literacy and college match training, among other collaborations.
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