Driver Education

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I'm attempting to schedule a road test so I can obtain a driver license in New York State. I am currently 17 years old and have a learner permit.
Is it mandatory to take either a 5 hour pre-licensing course or a driver education course? I've done some research but it's left me confused.
My dad originally thought that any kind of formal education (i.e. driver's ed) wasn't necessary to take a road test, but it seems things have changed.

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