The state Education Department issued annual school report cards for the 2010-11 school year Thursday, which showed that the ranks of teachers dropped 2.3 percent from the previous year and the number of paraprofessionals fell 17.5 percent.
The report cards include statewide, district and school statistics on student enrollment, attendance, suspensions, performance on standardized tests, dropout rates, teacher qualifications and class sizes, as well as fiscal data for public and charter schools, districts and the state.
School districts lost 8,901 teachers between the 2008-09 and 2010-11 school years, a decrease of nearly 4 percent, as the economy crashed and the state began to cut school aid. The total number of teachers and other professional staff was 323,974 in 2010-11. Staff had spiked from 333,117 in 2008-09 to 341,668 in 2009-10.
The largest flux was in the ranks of paraprofessionals, which increased from 67,568 in 2008-09 to 79,270 in 2009-10. The number of staff in that category fell 17.5 percent to 65,359 last year.
The 2012-13 state budget, which took effect April 1, boosted education aid by 4 percent following three years of reducing aid or keeping it flat from one year to the next.
Students in a number of demographic groups did not make adequate yearly progress, a requirement of the federal No Child Left Behind Law, in the 2010-11 school year. That includes elementary/middle-level math, and secondary-level English and math for black children; secondary-level English and math for Hispanics; and students with disabilities and children with limited English proficiency for English and math on all levels.
The Education Department previously released a lot of the data included in the report cards, but they provide all the information in one place. Data not previously been released by the state for 2010-11 includes the percentage of core classes taught by highly qualified teachers, scores on Regents exams, science test results for grades 4 and 8, and high school graduation rates.