Nearly six months after the city saw students’ failure rates spike thanks to new, tougher state tests, Mayor Bloomberg is directing extra funding to New York tutors in order to ready those students for another round of exams.
The mayor announced today that the Department of Education will distribute $10 million to 532 schools where more than two-thirds of students failed the state’s math and English tests last year. The funding will target nearly half of the more than 100,000 students who did not meet the state’s newly heightened proficiency bar. Bloomberg said he expected 48,000 students to receive extra tutoring and in-school help as a result of the new funding.
DOE officials said schools should receive the money by February 8. Principals will be able to spend it on weekend classes, lessons after school, tutoring during the school day, and online programs that will help students cram for the upcoming exams. They will have to race to spend it in time for it to have an effect, as the English and math exams will be administered in early May.
Chancellor Cathie Black cautioned that the new funding does not mean that the department’s budget woes are over. The city is waiting to find out how large the state’s budget cut will be and Bloomberg said he still expects to have to lay off teachers this year. But the $10 million was a modest enough figure that he said the city would be able to cover it.
“This should not be taken as a signal that more money is the answer to all of our problems,” Black said.
“It was so obvious that we had a problem,” said teachers union president Michael Mulgrew today. “Something had to be done; this is a start.”
Schools will receive a portion of the funding based on how many more of their students failed the exams last year than the year before. The largest amount any one school can get will be $65,000 and the smallest will be $6,000.
More than half of the schools that are eligible for the extra funding are in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Manhattan is home to 102 of them, Queens to 54 and Staten Island to 13.