New York State graduation rates rose above 80 percent this year, to 80.2 percent, a half percentage point increase from the previous year.
Elizabeth Harris explained in the New York Times how “in New York City, 71.1 percent of students graduated on time last year, up from 70 percent the year before” and notes the city’s statement that “across every borough and ethnicity, the graduation rate rose and the dropout rate declined.”
Harris notes that poorer cities throughout New York State did not fare well, citing Rochester as an example, where just over half of the students graduated on time last year. She states that “almost 95 percent of students in districts with a high level of resources graduated on time.”
She also considers how recent changes to graduation requirements might make it difficult to judge the level of improvement in the schools and explains how “instead of passing five Regents exams, students could graduate by passing four of them and earning a credential that demonstrates they are qualified for entry-level employment.”
Renewal schools—low-performing schools targeted for improvement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio—had a mixed record. Monica Disare in Chalkbeat noted that “among the 28 high schools that have received new social services and academic support through the program, the graduation rate increased to nearly 66 percent — almost a 6 percentage point bump over 2016.” Disare also pointed to a New York Times analysis that found that of the Renewal schools, more than half missed the graduation goals set for them by the city.
The achievement gap also persists across the state, as Carolyn Thompson explains in the Associated Press. She notes how “the graduation rate for black students was 69.3 percent and 68.4 percent for Hispanic students, about 20 percentage points below the rate for white students. English language learners and students with disabilities also lagged far behind the state average.” Thompson also adds how the recently approved Every State Succeeds Act “includes programming and supports to improve equity and sets a graduation rate goal of 83.3 percent in five years.”
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