Meaningful Learning Standards

All students deserve access to high-quality education that prepares them for college and the workforce. That includes ensuring that they have the right supports to fulfill their potential and are always held to high expectations to earn a high school diploma.

Assessments, graduation standards, and how funding is allocated are key components of developing an effective statewide accountability system to ensure that New York districts and schools are truly preparing students for success.

Funding Accountability with ARPA and ESSER

In our analysis of Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) spending, we break down how the Big 5 districts in New York have allocated funds, highlight promising practices from other states, as well as New York districts, and recommendations for how education leaders can encourage more spending to address unfinished learning.

Pandemic Proficiency

An in-depth look at Math and ELA proficiency in the 2021-2022 school year

A new analysis of recently released assessment results from the New York State Department of Education reveals the impact of interrupted instruction on student learning in English Language Arts (ELA) and math.

This data provides the public with an important snapshot of the impact of the pandemic on student literacy and numeracy skills and allows districts to drive resources and support to the students who most need them. 

What’s behind the state’s improved graduation rates?

Regents exam exemptions and regulatory changes may be the cause of inflated graduation rates

Throughout the pandemic, the administration of high school Regents exams has been interrupted and additional regulatory changes have made it easier for students to graduate. And while the need for additional flexibility during this time is understandable, these changes could exacerbate longstanding inequities in postsecondary preparedness.

Our brief explores graduation rates from 2018-2021 and the use of Regents exemptions, deep dives into an analysis of the class of 2021’s graduation rates, and outlines a historical pattern of regulatory changes that began even before the pandemic.

Graduation Rates by Region (2021)

Our analysis unearthed a significant variance in graduation rates in New York State’s Big Five regions. Check out regional-specific data below.

The State of the Diploma

School districts across the state are disproportionately relying on Local diplomas and the Career Development & Occupational Studies (CDOS) pathway — which relies on a credential that was designed to show readiness for entry-level employment — for historically under-served groups of students, and especially for Black students.

Graduating Into Uncertainty

Across New York State, school districts serving the largest shares of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds were more likely to rely on exemptions from Regents exams to graduate students, highlighting the critical need for state and education leaders to take steps to ensure that high school seniors are supported in their postsecondary transition.