Press Release

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** JANUARY 29, 2015

Contact:
Stu@StuLoeser.com, 212 634 7469 OR
Khan@StuLoeser.com, 347 596 6389

ANALYSIS REVEALS NEARLY 100 DISTRICT SCHOOLS ENROLL VIRTUALLY NO ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS/SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

929 District Schools Enroll Fewer ELL Students than District Averages
612 District Schools Enroll Fewer Special-Needs Students than District Averages

NEW YORK, NY — A Families for Excellent Schools analysis reveals that 93 district schools across New York City serve less than 1% of either English Language Learner or Special Needs students. The data strongly suggests that district schools segregate high-needs students at staggering rates, clustering the majority of these students in failing schools. Nearly 59%, or 929 district schools, enroll fewer ELL students than their district averages, and 39%, or 612 district schools, enroll fewer Special Needs students than their district averages–a standard that Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has explicitly promoted as recently as last Thursday.

Since taking office, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña have consistently argued that the district prioritizes service to ELL and Special Needs students at every turn. In her first major policy address in April 2014, Fariña emphasized “[the district’s] commitment to make sure all children with special needs, ELLs, and those who are teaching them get the support they need.” More recently, she argued that district schools are a model for charter schools. At a Crain’s breakfast last Thursday, she said, “I would like to see an equal number of English language learners and special-needs kids in all the schools, which represents whatever the ratio is in that district.”

“While the Chancellor falsely smears charter schools, I literally could not find a district school in our neighborhood willing to accept my daughter,” said Takisha Willis, a Brooklyn parent.

“My son has an IEP [individualized educational plan] and attends a school that is failing him,” said Marilyn Askew, a Brooklyn parent. “Why isn’t the Chancellor fixing that?”

“The evidence is in. Hundreds of district schools fail to serve ELL and Special Needs students,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, Executive Director of Families for Excellent Schools. “With 143,000 students trapped in failing schools, when will the Mayor and Chancellor take responsibility for the schools they run?”

Key Findings from the Analysis:

93 schools across New York have student populations with either <1% ELL or <1% Special-Needs students

English Language Learners

  • There are 429 traditional public schools that enroll English language learners at a rate less than half that of their districts.
  • There are 29 district schools with zero English language learners and 88 schools where less than 1% of students are English language learners–a total of 117 schools.
  • Most district schools — 929 of them, or 59% of all schools — enroll fewer ELLs than the average for their districts.
  • There are 136,000 ELL students in NYC district public schools. Of the schools with more ELL students than district averages, 24% are severely failing. Schools with more ELL students than average are nearly twice as likely to be severely failing than schools with fewer ELL students than district averages.

Special Needs Students

  • There are 101 traditional public schools that enroll students with disabilities at a rate less than half that of their districts.
  • There are 59 district schools where less than 5% of students receive support services for disabilities (even though the citywide average is 17%). There are 13 district schools where less than 1% of students receive support services for disabilities.
  • There are 612 (39%) district schools that enroll a smaller proportion of students with disabilities than the average for their districts.
  • There are 158,000 special needs students in the NYC district public schools. Of the schools that enroll more special needs students than district averages, 27% are chronically and severely failing—fewer than one in ten students are meeting academic and college readiness standards. A school with more special needs students than average is more than five times as likely to be failing as a school with fewer special needs students than average.