Data: NYC Teachers, Principals Stick Around (And a Whole Lot More)

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — May 31, 2013 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

While declining teacher satisfaction nationwide has been an area of concern, New York City seems to be doing something that’s keeping teachers and school leaders around longer. Both teacher and principal retention in the district has improved dramatically in the past decade: In 2000-2001, 32 percent of teachers left after one year, compared to 20 percent in 2010-11. Twenty-seven percent of new principals had left the school system within three years in 2000-2001, while only 8 percent of those who began in 2008-09 had left within three years.

Those are just some of the interesting trends highlighted in a new report from the New York City Independent Budget Office. The report offers a fascinating in-depth look at demographics, student outcomes, budget, principals and teachers, school buildings, class size and more in the nation’s largest school district.

The IBO was required to start collecting information on the schools after the renewal of mayoral control in the district in 2009. This is its second report. It draws most of its information from the city’s department of education.

A few of the other interesting facts in the report:


  • 17 percent of the district’s 1.1 million students come from 197 countries and territories. 79 percent of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
  • Hispanics make up 40 percent of the school system; black students make up 28 percent of the district; Asian students make up 16 percent; White students are 16 percent, and the remaining one percent is “other.”
  • White students are more highly represented in early grades; black students are more highly represented in higher grades.

Special Education

  • 17 percent of students are identified as having special education needs—and 53 percent of the teachers who started in the school system in 2010 were special education teachers.


  • The state is responsible for 42 percent of the education department’s $19.7 billion budget; the city is responsible for 47 percent; the federal government, 10 percent.
  • The budget has grown 16 percent since 2007-2008. The biggest increase has been in the nonpublic school payments category, which encompasses charter school payments, among other categories.
  • In 2011-12, 60 percent of money allocated to schools was spent on teacher costs; 25 percent went to other staff, including principals, paraprofessionals, and counselors.
  • Pension costs are $2.7 billion, three times as much as in 2003.


  • The principal corps has gotten younger over time, and the number of principals has grown.
  • 22 percent of principals came through alternative training programs like New Leaders and the Aspiring Principal Program. Traditionally-trained principals in New York’s schools are more likely to be female (70 percent v. about 50 percent).

Small Schools

  • Since 2003-2004, 96 schools have closed and 402 schools have opened in the city. That’s partly due to the city’s small schools initiative. You can download this webinar for a conversation with Shael Polakow-Suransky, the district’s chief academic officer, about the small schools movement.

The full report has information about student achievement, new schools in the district, teachers, and more. Hat tip to Lisa Fleischer at the Wall Street Journal.

Earlier this month, the New York Times featured an editorial on how the candidates for the city’s mayoral election this fall have been talking about the school system. Mayoral control in the district is currently authorized until 2015, so a new mayor will be able to appoint a chancellor early next year—and could use this data to get a better picture about what is happening in the city’s schools.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.