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Why Teachers Matter
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New York City is the largest and most rapidly improving urban school district in the United States, uncompromisingly committed to learning and achievement for all its students. New York City public schools have made significant progress in raising student achievement in the past several years, and the graduation rate is the highest it has been in decades, up almost 33 percent since 2002. Our teachers are central to realizing the excellent education that all New York City students deserve.



The Challenge
In most of the United States, low-income and minority students are the least likely to have access to the resources that matter most. A 2008 study by the Education Trust found that the chances of students in high-poverty schools being taught by teachers who hold neither certification nor academic majors in their fields are about double the chances of students in more affluent schools. Another study found that Black male students are about a third as likely to have highly effective teachers as white, non-Latino male students.  But when students in high-poverty areas have equal access to the resources available to their more affluent peers, they can achieve at high levels.


In New York City, almost 4 in 10 public school students do not earn a high school diploma within four years and more than 3 in 10 students do not meet New York State standards in basic subjects like mathematics and English Language Arts.


Moreover, a persistent gap in academic achievement separates poor, minority students from their more affluent counterparts, with Black, Latino, and low-income students in New York City performing, on average, several grade levels below their peers.


Students in the highest-poverty communities in New York City, particularly in Brooklyn and the Bronx, often do not have access to enough high-quality teachers. That challenge is especially great for schools in need of teachers in shortage subject areas like science or for special education classrooms.


Teachers Make the Difference
We know that good teachers matter. A lot. The gap in academic achievement between students taught by less-effective teachers and those taught by better teachers can be life altering for students. However, effective teachers can close this gap. In as few as three years, an effective teacher can provide up to a 50-percentile improvement on standardized tests for their students, and these improvements compound over time, with every consecutive quality teacher.  Because teacher quality is the most significant factor in determining student success, it is critical that every student in New York City has access to excellent teachers. 


Since 2000, the NYC Teaching Fellows program has helped to staff the highest-need subject areas in New York City’s highest-need schools by recruiting top-tier, dedicated individuals to become teachers. Fellows are committed to ensuring that all students in New York City receive an excellent education–and they are making a dramatic difference.