School Data Show Student Churn in Early Years

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Though enrollment in the city schools stays fairly consistent from year to year, new analysis from the Independent Budget Office shows higher student attrition in the early part of elementary school years 

"Often when I hear people discuss educational policy, there seems to be an unspoken assumption that the kids you serve in the early grades are the same students you're going to have later," said Raymond Domanico, director of education research at the Independent Budget Office.

But that is not necessarily the case.

For students enrolled in the first-grade in 2002, just two-thirds remained in the New York City schools by the eighth-grade, according to an annual report of New York City Public School Indicators.

The data help to illustrate both the overall number of students served by the New York City schools, and the dynamic of the student population over time. Especially at a time when the city is placing substantial resources in pre-kindergarten, Domanico said, it is important to understand that many of the students served in the early grades will not be part of the school system several years later.

Likewise, educators must plan for significant numbers of new students entering the school system each year, and may not have the benefit of building on the previous year with students.

The Independent Budget Office report, now in its third year, includes basic student demographic data; school funding information; and details about special education, student attendance and principal turnover.

For the first time this year, the report included figures on the number of students in temporary housing: nearly 77,000 students lived in a temporary housing situation in the 2012-2013 school year, including students in shelters, in hotels or awaiting foster care placements. That number represents an increase by more than 10,000 students from the 2010-2011 school year.