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Quality educational opportunities are critical to helping our children develop to their maximum potential and to our community’s ability to compete in the global economy. In this section, we summarize trends in the performance of our area’s educational system.
Like most of life, children’s education was dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with many students in our area learning on a fully or partially remote basis in the 2020-21 school year. As a result, most students did not take state tests and therefore testing data in this section has not been updated (for more information, see the state’s website).
In all cases, comparisons to state statistics reflect the state excluding New York City.
The percentage of preschoolers receiving special education services has been increasing since 2000.
From 2000 to 2020, the share increased 3.5 percentage points, similar to the state percentage. In 2020, 7.9% of all 3- to 5-year-olds in the region and 7.2% in the state were receiving special education services.
Prekindergarten enrollment has been steady since 2009, but remains below the rate for the state.
About 28% of the region's 4-year-olds were enrolled in publicly funded prekindergarten programs in 2020, below the 42% rate for the state. Participation was highest in Orange and Sullivan counties (37% and 38% respectively), followed by Ulster (35%). Dutchess had the lowest enrollment at 16%.
Per–student spending by school districts is slightly higher in the region than in the state.
In 2020, per-student spending by school districts in the region was approximately $27,600, more than the state at $25,700. Per-student spending in the region has increased 69% since 2000, even after adjusting for inflation. Spending in Sullivan County was the highest in the region, about $31,300 per student, followed by Putnam County school districts at $31,200 and Ulster County at $29,200. Dutchess and Orange counties were the lowest in the region at about $26,300 per student.
The region has lower passing rates on fourth–grade English exams than the state.
The 2019 passing rate of 41% in English was 4 points below the state. Passing rates on state tests were significantly lower for low-income, English language learners, and students with disabilities than for their peers. In the region, 27% of low-income fourth-graders passed the English exams and 7% for both English language learners and students with disabilities. Greene and Ulster counties' economically disadvantaged students had the lowest proficiency rate among the counties at 21% and Dutchess had the highest at 34%. We note that 22% of students in the region opted not to take the exam.
The region has lower passing rates on fourth–grade math exams than the state.
The 2019 passing rate of 46% in math was 3 points below the state. Passing rates on state tests were significantly lower for low-income, English language learners, and students with disabilities than for their peers. In the region, 32% of low-income fourth-graders passed the math exams, 13% of English language learners, and 11% of students with disabilities. Ulster County had the lowest proficiency rate among economically disadvantaged students at 25% and Greene had the highest at 41%. About 24% of students region-wide opted out of the exam.
Both high school graduation and dropout rates are in line with statewide trends.
By 2021, 88% of the region’s 2017 cohort graduated on time, similar to the state (89%). About 5% of the cohort dropped out, similar to the state rate.
An increasing proportion of high school graduates plan to attend college.
In 2017, 83% of high school seniors in the region planned to attend college, with 36% planning to attend a 2-year program and 47% planning to attend a 4-year program. The regional college-bound rate in 2017 was slightly higher than the state rate of 82%. Rates were similar across most of the regional counties except for Putnam where 90% of graduates planned to attend college.
Education levels among adults are rising, with more having a college education.
In 2016-20, 62% of adults had attended at least some college, up from 52% in 2000 and even with the nation. About 33% of the region's residents had a 4-year degree or higher in 2016-20, compared to 25% in 2000. Just 10% of residents in the region did not have a high school diploma in 2016-20. Educational attainment among counties in the region was highest in Putnam County, with 41% of residents possessing a 4-year degree or higher, compared to 24% in Greene and 27% in Sullivan.
The share of residents with a bachelor’s or higher was highest among Asians in the region (53%), followed by whites (35%), African Americans (23%) and Hispanics (22%). Still, those figures reflect increases of 11 percentage points for African Americans and 9 points for Hispanics from 2000.
|INDICATORS||TREND | STATE|
|Children Living in Poverty||Increasing|
|Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Single-Parent Families, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Rate of Child Abuse and Neglect||Decreasing|
|Rate of Foster Care Admissions||Decreasing|
|Live Births to Teen Mothers||Decreasing|
|Juvenile Delinquency Intakes||Decreasing|
|Bullying at School||Decreasing|
|Average Charitable Giving||Increasing|
|Voter Registration Rate||Increasing|
|Voter Participation Rate||Increasing|
|Population by Age||Not Applicable|
|Population by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Household Types||Not Applicable|
|Change in Total Jobs||Decreasing|
|Employment by Sector||Not Applicable|
|Spending for County Government||Increasing|
|Preschoolers Receiving Special Education Services||Increasing|
|Students Receiving Special Education Services||Decreasing|
|Student Performance on Grade 4 English, by Student Group||Not Applicable|
|Student Performance on Grade 4 English, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Student Performance on Grade 4 Math, by Student Group||Not Applicable|
|Student Performance on Grade 4 Math, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|High School Cohort Graduation Rate||Increasing|
|High School Cohort Dropout Rate||Decreasing|
|High School GED Rate||Maintaining|
|Plans of High School Graduates||Not Applicable|
|Education Levels of Adults||Not Applicable|
|Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Median Household Income||Maintaining|
|Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|People Living in Poverty||Increasing|
|People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Seniors Living in Poverty||Maintaining|
|Children Receiving Subsidized Child Care||Maintaining|
|Veterans Living in Poverty||Decreasing|
|Economically Disadvantaged Students||Increasing|
|Earned Income Tax Credit Participation||Decreasing|
|Living Wage Rate by Household Type||Not Applicable|
|Income in Relation to Poverty Level||Not Applicable|
|People Without Health Insurance||Decreasing|
|Early Prenatal Care, by Mother's Race/Ethnicity||Not Applicable|
|Deaths from Drug Overdoses||Increasing|
|Babies with Low Birth Weights||Maintaining|
|People Living wth HIV||Increasing|
|Mental Health Clinic Visits||Decreasing|
|Housing Affordability for Homeowners||Maintaining|
|Housing Affordability for Renters||Not Applicable|