Growing Student Poverty Requires State Response
ALBANY, NY (11/08/2017) (readMedia)-- Today NYSASBO released an analysis of economic need in New York public schools that shows increasing levels of poverty and economic hardship both statewide and by region. While overall enrollments are declining – 89 percent of districts lost students in the past 10 years – school districts are burdened by increases in economically disadvantaged students that have emerged from the Great Recession.
Outside of NYC, Long Island experienced the smallest decline in student population, while the Southern Tier and the Finger Lakes regions experienced the largest declines in student population.
NYSASBO's analysis shows clear connections between local resources, student need, and student achievement. Proficiency rates on state English language arts and math exams range from 19 percent in the neediest decile to 68 percent in the lowest-need decile.
In terms of local resources, the statewide average spending per pupil in 2015-16 was $23,361, while low need districts spent $27,109 and high need urban/suburban districts spent $21,255 per pupil respectively.
Outside of NYC, the Mohawk Valley has the highest poverty rates and lowest ELA/Math proficiency scores, while Long Island has the lowest poverty rates and highest proficiency scores.
The Foundation Aid formula, the state's primary mechanism for funding public schools, is $3.6 billion short of being fully phased-in. The highest need districts also have the highest levels of Foundation Aid still due. Outside of NYC, Long Island is still due the most in Foundation Aid ($806 million) and the North Country is due the least ($40 million).
"Although the data confirms what we already know, that poverty and low academic achievement go hand in hand, what is startling is that common sense, research-based recommendations to address poverty in the Foundation Aid formula go unheeded", stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.
Last year education advocacy groups, including NYSASBO, advocated for changes to the Foundation Aid formula that would utilize up-to-date data, and improve the measurement of student poverty among other recommendations.
"I am hopeful that this coming legislative session will bring long overdue changes to the Foundation Aid formula that will lead to greater success by students in poverty", concluded Mr. Borges.