Cities

Immigrants and the Distribution of Resources within an Urban School District

Immigrants and the Distribution of Resources within an Urban School District
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Winter 2004, Vol. 26, No. 4. pp- 303-328.

Stiefel, L. & Schwartz, A.E.
12/01/2004

In New York City, where almost 14 percent of elementary school pupils are foreign-born and roughly half of these are "recent immigrants," the impact of immigrant students on school resources may be important. While immigrant advocates worry about inequitable treatment of immigrant students, others worry that immigrants drain resources from native-born students. In this article, we explore the variation in school resources and the relationship to the representation of immigrant students. To what extent are variations in school resources explained by the presence of immigrants per se rather than by differences in student educational needs, such as poverty or language skills, or differences in other characteristics, such as race? Our results indicate that, while schools resources decrease with the representation of immigrants, this relationship largely reflects differences in the educational needs of immigrant students. Although analyses that link resources to the representation of foreign-born students in 12 geographic regions of origin find some disparities, these are again largely driven by differences in educational need. Finally, we find that some resources increase over time when there are large increases in the percentage of immigrants in a school, but these results are less precisely estimated. Thus, elementary schools appear not to be biased either against or for immigrants per se, although differences in the needs of particular groups of immigrant students may lead to more (or fewer) school resources.

At Capacity: The Need for More Rail Access to the Manhattan CBD

At Capacity: The Need for More Rail Access to the Manhattan CBD
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, November

Scanlon, R. & Seeley, E.
11/01/2004

This report examines the relationship between proposed transit system capacity improvements in the downstate metropolitan area, the updated post 9-11 job projections for the Manhattan Central Business District, and regional economic growth. It further explores a number of key issues Ed Seeley first covered in a highly publicized report on these topics for the New York City Department of Transportation in 1997. The findings of this report are relevant to the current discussions concerning the next MTA Five Year program. Ensuring that the MTA maintains a state of good repair and normal replacement is the highest priority of most, if not all transportation policy experts for the next 5 year capital program. Nonetheless, as historians and planners have frequently asserted, New York's growth and prosperity has consistently been tied to additions and improvements to its transportation network and this report suggests this is likely to be the case in the foreseeable future.

Can New York Get an “A” in School Finance Reform?

Can New York Get an “A” in School Finance Reform?
Citizens Budget Commission, November

Brecher, C.
11/01/2004

The State of New York faces a major challenge stemming from a 2003 ruling by the Court of Appeals, the State's highest court. It found that the more than one million children in New York City's public schools were not provided with the sound basic education guaranteed to them by the State Constitution. In the subsequent months, the plaintiffs and the State's political leaders have not agreed on a suitable remedy for students in New York City, and by extension to hundreds of thousands of additional students in other school districts around the state who also have been denied their constitutional right. One important issue to be resolved is: How much additional funding is needed?

The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) has prepared this report to address two questions fundamental to designing a remedy:

- Where should the money come from?
- What changes other than more money are essential to improving educational
outcomes?

 

Attitudinal and contextual factors associated with discussion of sexual issues during adolescent health visits

Attitudinal and contextual factors associated with discussion of sexual issues during adolescent health visits
Journal of Adolescent Health 2004:35(2)108-115.

Merzel, C.R., Van Devanter, N., Middlestadt, S.E., Bleakley, A., Ledsky, R. & Messeri, P.A.
08/01/2004

The purpose was to examine attitudinal and contextual factors associated with the occurrence of sexual health assessments during adolescent primary care visits. A total of 313 primarily African-American youth aged 11-21 years from 16 community-based organizations in suburban Maryland and in New York City completed questionnaires focusing on sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and health care. The analysis examined the relationship of sexual activity, attitudes, and presence of the parent at the health care visit with discussion of three sexual health topics and testing for STD at the most recent health care visit. Data were analyzed using Chi-square tests and logistic regression. Overall, 74% of respondents reported that they had talked about at least one sexual health topic at their last health care visit but only 32% had discussed all three topics of sexual behavior, birth control, and STD. Females were more likely than males to discuss birth control although there were no gender differences in the overall likelihood of talking about a sexual health topic. Few adolescents initiated discussion of sexual issues. Positive attitudes toward discussing sexual issues with a provider and absence of a parent at the visit were independently associated with higher odds of discussing at least one sexuality topic and STD testing. Although relatively large numbers of adolescents in the sample received sexual health assessments, the proportion was below recommended guidelines. The opportunity to speak privately with a clinician and having positive attitudes about discussing sex with a doctor appear to be important influences on the receipt of sexual health assessments. Improving the quality of adolescent preventive care will require creating a health care environment that facilitates discussion of sexual health issues

From Districts To Schools: The Distribution Of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts

From Districts To Schools: The Distribution Of Resources Across Schools in Big City School Districts
Symposium on Education Finance and Organization Structure in NYS Schools, Albany, NY, March

Schwartz, A.E., Stiefel, L. & Rubenstein, R.
03/01/2004

This paper explores the determinants of resource allocation across schools in large districts and examines options for improving resource distribution patterns. Previous research on intra-district allocations consistently reveals resource disparities across schools within districts, particularly in the distribution of teachers. While overall expenditures are sometimes related to the characteristics of students in schools, the ratio of teachers per pupil is consistently larger in high poverty, high-minority and low-performing schools. These teachers, though, generally have lower experience and education levels � and consequently, lower salaries � as compared to teachers in more advantaged schools. We explore these patterns in New York City, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio by estimating de facto expenditure equations relating resource measures to school and student characteristics. Consistent with previous research, we find schools that have higher percentages of poor pupils receive more money and have more teachers per pupil, but the teachers tend to be less educated and less well paid, with a particularly consistent pattern in New York City schools. The paper concludes with policy options for changing intradistrict resource distributions in order to promote more efficient, more equitable or more effective use of resources. These options include allocating dollars rather than teacher positions to schools, providing teacher pay differentials in hard-to-staff schools and subjects, and adapting current district-based funding formulas to the school (and student) level.

Confronting the Tradeoffs in Medicaid Cost Containment

Confronting the Tradeoffs in Medicaid Cost Containment
Citizens Budget Commission, February

Brecher, C. & Spiezio, S.
02/01/2004

A common pressure on the State and City budgets is the rapid growth in spending for Medicaid. For this reason, the Committee asked the CBC staff to explore ways to control Medicaid expenditures. In a series of meetings that reviewed analyses prepared by the staff, the Committee identified the important tradeoffs inherent in trying to curb Medicaid expenditures. This report reflects the Committee’s thinking on how to address these difficult tradeoffs in ways that best reflect the values most important to the future fiscal and economic health of New York City and New York State, including a deep concern for the ability of poorer New Yorkers to have access to needed medial care.

Context Sensitive Solutions in Large Central Cities

Context Sensitive Solutions in Large Central Cities
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, February

de Cerreño, A.L.C. & Pierson, I.
02/01/2004

This report is a summary of the proceedings and findings from a one-and-a-half day peer-to-peer workshop on context sensitive design/solutions (CSD/S) held in New York City in June 2003. The goal of the session was to lay a foundation for dealing with the state of the practice and processes related to context sensitive solutions, and to identify specific urban examples that could be used as benchmarks for lessons learned and best practices. The report presents hard -to-find examples of CSD/S in large central cities, specifically from Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, and Philadelphia. Each example illustrates some elements of CSD.S more than others, but together they provide a baseline for understanding how large cities are coping with the myriad issues related to CSD/S and why a more concerted effort is needed in understanding and implementing CSD/S.

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York

A Comparison of Ground-Level Air Quality Data with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Monitoring Stations Data in South Bronx, New York
Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 38, pp. 5295-5304.

Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R., Thurston, G., Clemente, J., Gorczynski, J., Zhong, M., Blaustin, M. & Chen, L.C.
01/01/2004

The South Bronx is a low-income, minority community in New York City. It has one of the highest asthma rates in
the country, which community residents feel is related to poor air quality. Community residents also feel that the air quality data provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through its network
of monitoring stations do not reflect the poor quality of the air they breathe. This is due to the fact that these
monitoring stations are located 15m above ground. In the year 2001 this project collected air quality data at three
locations in the study area. They were collected close to ground-level at a height of 4m by a mobile laboratory placed in a van as part of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study. This paper compares data collected by the project with data from DEC's monitoring stations in Bronx County during the same periods. The goal of the comparison is to gain a better understanding of differences in measured air quality concentrations at these different heights. Although there is good agreement in the data among DEC stations there are some important differences between ground-level measurements and DEC data. For PM2.5 the measured concentrations by the van were similar to those recorded by DEC stations. In the case of ozone, the concentrations recorded at ground level were similar or lower than those recorded by DEC stations. For NO2, however, the concentrations recorded at ground level were over twice as high as those recorded by DEC. In the case of SO2, ground level measurements were substantially higher in August but very similar in the other two periods. CO concentrations measured at ground-level tend to be 60-90% higher than those recorded by DEC monitoring stations. Despite these differences, van measurements of SO2 and CO concentrations were well below EPA standards.

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer

City Taxes, City Spending: Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer
Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.,

Schwartz, A.E.
01/01/2004

In a festschrift to Netzer a public finance economist well known for his research on state and local taxation, urban public services, and nonprofit organizations eight chapters apply microeconomics to problems facing urban areas and use statistical analysis to gain insight into practical solutions. The essays look at alternative methods of financing urban government, such as a land value tax and the impact of sales and income taxes on property taxation; at government expenditures, including housing subsidies; and at subsidies to nonprofit arts groups as well as the role of the nonprofit sector in providing K-12 education. Of interest to the fields of public finance, urban economics, and public administration.

Dept. of Building, Winning the West

Dept. of Building, Winning the West
The New Yorker, July 5,

Whitagker, C. & Finnegan, W.
01/01/2004

Both sides have started punching harder lately in the brawl over whether or not to build a seventy-five-thousand-seat football stadium over the Hudson rail yards on Manhattan’s far West Side. The New York Jets, who would own the place, will be taking computers from the mouths of needy schoolchildren if the state and the city are forced to provide the six hundred million dollars that would be their part of the deal—or, at least, that’s what the television ads paid for by the Dolan family, the owners of Madison Square Garden, say. Nonsense, say the Jets and their supporters, who include Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, and the construction unions. The stadium will be such a financial success that it will end up giving computers to needy schoolchildren. Opponents say that the stadium will sink New York City’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics (the International Olympic Committee does not like controversy). No, say the stadium’s backers, it is the centerpiece of the city’s Olympic hopes.

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