School Improvement

Under Mike Bloomberg, New York City’s public school system underwent a renaissance. High school graduation rates increased 42 percent, and the City opened 654 new schools, including 173 charter schools. Students and their families had more top-quality school options than ever before.

Achieved mayoral control of schools and injected accountability into every level of the system.

High school graduation rates were up 42% from 2005 to 2013.

Created 654 new schools, including 173 charter schools.

Mayoral Control

Abolished the Broken Board of Education

In 2002, Mayor Bloomberg succeeded in abolishing the Board of Education and gained control over the school system.

Raising Student Performance

Graduation Rate

From 2005 to 2012 graduation rates increased 42%. In 2013, the City’s four year graduation rate was 66%, an all-time high.

Top Schools

In 2002, none of the top 25 elementary or middle schools in the state were in New York City. In 2013, 22 out of the top 25 schools across the state were in New York City.

Increased Funding

NYC more than doubled its spending on education ($5.9B in FY02 to $13.6B in FY14), far outpacing the state and nation.

Increasing Standards

From 2005 to 2012, the percentage of students earning a Regents or Advanced Regents Diploma increased by 31.5 percentage points (a 105% increase), from 30% in 2005 to 61.5% in 2012.

Achievement of Black and Hispanic Students

In 2005, only 40.1% of Black students and 37.4% of Hispanic students graduated in four years; in 2012, the numbers grew to 59.8% and 57.5% respectively.

Achievement Gap

The black-white achievement gap on graduation rates went from 23.9 points in 2005 to 18.3 points in 2012 – a decrease of 23%. The Hispanic-white gap on graduation rates went from 26.6% in 2005 to 20.6 points in 2012— a 23% decrease.

Lowered Dropout Rate

The dropout rate was cut nearly in half, from 22.0% in 2005 to 11.4% in 2012.

College Ready Rate

In 2005, 16.0% of students achieved the College Readiness Index (CRI), while in 2012, 28.6% of students met this standard, an increase of 12.5 percentage points or a 78.3% increase.

NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress)

From 2003 to 2012, New York City public school students improved an average of eight points in 4th grade math, six points in 8th grade math, and ten points in 4th grade reading—all statistically significant increases that mirrored or exceeded trends seen across the nation.

Ended Social Promotion

Beginning in 2008, the Bloomberg administration began ending social promotion in grades 3-8.

Invested in Early Childhood Education

Enrollment in Universal Prekindergarten increased by nearly 40 percent – from 40,000 in 2002 to 55,300 in 2013.

Added 150 Minutes to School Week

In 2005, the Bloomberg administration lengthened each school day by an average of 30 minutes.

Increased SAT Participation

New York City SAT participation increased 53% from 2002 to 2013.

Increased AP (Advance Placement) Participation

During the 2012-2013 school year, nearly 35,600 students took at least one AP exam, an increase of more than 107 percent since 2002.

New Schools Created

From 2002 to 2013, 654 new public schools opened in NYC, including 173 charter schools, increasing the number of high-quality options for students.

Classroom Seats Added

From 2003 to 2012, more than 126,000 classroom seats were added and the City is on track to have added more than 130,000 by 2014.

Small Schools

The Bloomberg administration created more than 200 new small district high schools. In large high schools that were split into smaller schools, the overall graduation rate increased from 37.9% at the large high schools in 2002 to 67.7% in the new small schools in the same buildings in 2012. This translated to 2,056 more graduates per year.

Raised GED Passing Rate

71% of GED test takers who attended the City’s preparation program in the 2012/2013 school year passed. This pass rate was above the national pass rate of 69% and the statewide pass rate of 54%.


A parent coordinator installed in every school and information – like attendance, academic history, current grades and tools for parents to help their students reach graduation – was made accessible via ARIS Parent Link.

Drop in Chronic Absenteeism

In 2011-2012 chronically absent students with mentors gained an additional 11,820 more days of school when compared to their counterparts without mentors at comparison schools. The Mayor’s Truancy Task Force created the largest, most comprehensive school-based mentoring effort in the nation.

Promoting Teacher Excellence

Increased Teacher Salaries

Over the course of the Bloomberg administration, teachers’ base salaries increased by 43%.

Reformed Tenure

In 2011-12, 55% of teachers were granted tenure down from 97% of teachers granted tenure in 2006-07. In 2012-13, 53% of teachers were granted tenure.

Established Teacher Evaluation System

The Bloomberg administration established a state approved teacher evaluation system that helped teachers at all levels of performance develop and improve.

Expanded and Targeted STEM Teacher Recruitment

In 2013, over 750 math and science teachers were hired in 431 schools, joining a teaching force of nearly 5,000 math teachers and 4,000 science teachers across NYC.

Launched the Big Apple Awards for Teacher Excellence

This was the first citywide teacher recognition program open to all full-time teachers in public schools across New York City.

Empowering Principals

Created the Leadership Academy

Launched in 2003, the Leadership Academy was established to recruit and train outstanding principals to lead New York City’s public schools.

Principal Evaluation System

The strengthened evaluation system helped ineffective principals and allowed the City to terminate those who did not improve.

Authorized Principals to Make Hiring Decisions

Previously, principals were forced to accept teachers and assistant principals based on seniority.

Children First Networks

An entrenched and inefficient school management structure was transformed into a system that is needs-driven and results-orientated through the creation of Children First Networks, which provides instructional and operational support to schools.

Holding Schools Accountable

Created Progress Reports and Quality Reviews for Every School

Progress reports and quality reviews helped parents, teachers, principals and school communities understand each schools’ strengths and weaknesses.

Implemented Annual NYC School Survey

Launched in 2007, it was the largest annual school survey in the country, and was administered to all parents, teachers, and students in grades 6 to 12.

Increased Accountability

In return for increased autonomy and authority, educators were held accountable for their performance.

Replaced Failing Schools

The Bloomberg administration replaced 164 failing schools with schools that significantly improved graduation rates and achievement levels.

Cut Major Crime

Major crime in schools was cut by 56% and violent crime was cut by 55% since 2000-01.

Increased Classroom Funding

Increased Funding

NYC more than doubled its spending on education ($5.9B in FY02 to $13.6B in FY14), far outpacing the state and nation.

Cut the Bureaucracy

Moved more than $482 million between FY02 and FY12 out of the bureaucracy and into the classroom.

Fair Student Funding

The Bloomberg administration changed the funding of schools so it was based on students’ needs rather than teacher salaries. Schools received a dollar amount per student, weighted by such factors as poverty, academic intervention, English Language Learners, and special education classroom services.

Free and Discounted Lunch

Beginning in the 2008-2009 school year, families could access the lunch applications online through ACCESS NYC.

Healthy School Food

All soda was eliminated from schools. Trans Fats were eliminated from all school recipes. Only whole wheat breads and pastas were served. Salad bars were installed in nearly all schools.

Universal Free Breakfast

Free breakfast were made available for all students K-12.

Capital Investment

School Construction

Between September 2003 and September 2011, DOE opened 134 buildings at a cost of $6.2 billion.