NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The high school drop-out rate in New York City has hit an all-time low and the graduation rate remained steady, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and schools chancellor Dennis Walcott announced Monday.
Under the most rigorous graduation requirements in state history, the city announced the four-year graduation rate stayed flat at 64.7 percent.
The New York State Department of Education released graduation rates for the class of 2012 on Monday.
Students who entered high school in 2008 were the first who didn’t have the option of graduating with a so-called local diploma, meaning they had to earn a Regents diploma requiring them to pass five Regents exams.
According to the city, graduation rates have risen by nearly 40 percent since 2005. That translates to the graduation of 57,000 additional students during that time span.
Despite the achievements over the past decade, the citywide graduation rate is about seven points below the state average of 74 percent, according to education officials. However, Bloomberg said the numbers are positive.
“Over the last 10 years, our students have made tremendous gains, meeting higher standards and learning the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a news release. “Since taking control of a failing school system, graduation rates have increased even as requirements have become harder, fewer students are dropping out and more are taking the time to earn their diplomas. These gains would not have happened under our once-failing school system, and demonstrate how effective the school reforms we’ve put in place continue to be for our students and their families.”
The city announced the number of students who earned a Regents diploma rose by 10 percent in 2012 and has more than doubled since 2005.
The graduation rate for 2012 took into account those who graduated on time in June and those who graduated in August, following summer school.
The dropout rate stood at 11.4 percent last year, according to state figures.
According to the state DOE, New York City had among the strongest numbers among the “Big 5” largest districts in the state.
Four of the Big 5 districts posted graduation rates slightly lower than in 2011, but Buffalo saw its rate drop by more than 7 percentage points to just under 47 percent. Yonkers held at 66 percent while Syracuse was at 48 percent and Rochester 43 percent.
“We continue to raise the bar and our students continue to rise to the challenge,” Walcott said in a statement. “As standards increase for students at all grade levels, we must continue to support the reforms that have enabled these gains and not turn back the clock on our students. Today, more students go to high quality schools where teachers know each student well, and support all students on their path towards success in college and careers.”
The city noted higher five- and six-year graduation rates in 2012 compared to 2008 as well.
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