At the request of Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the city's Independent Budget Office took a look at the state of the city's vocational schools -- and found that despite receiving lower per-pupil funding than "general academic schools," vocational schools actually graduate their students at higher rates. The IBO notes correctly that vocational schools have been largely under the radar in the last few years, as the DOE's ongoing reorganizations have focused squarely on improving test scores, not alternate paths to post-graduation success.
The report also points out that while the DOE's new Fair Student Funding formula assigns extra weight for students in vocational programs, the number of seats in vocational programs may be threatened by local and federal accountability programs. More than half of all vocational schools in the city are considered failing according to No Child Left Behind, and the DOE seems eager to restructure these failing schools, as it has with Harry Van Arsdale High School, which closed this year. The smalls schools now in the Van Arsdale building do not offer vocational instruction.