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NYC high school graduation rate hits new record

2019-01-30

Hundreds of Stuyvesant High School students return to class after the summer break on September 5, 2018. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for New York Daily News)

City high schools managed record-high graduation rates in 2018, Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday.

As of August, more than three-quarters of city seniors — 75.9% — graduated high school, breaking the city's previous record of 74.3% that was set in 2017.

Likewise, citywide dropout rates slipped to a record low of 7.5% last year, down from 7.8% the year before.

The increase in graduation rates and decrease in drop-outs is consistent with steady improvements made in recent years.

But de Blasio said those gains add up to a healthy school system, as he revealed the figures at New World High School in the Bronx.

“For the fifth year in a row graduation rates are up, dropout rates are down, and the achievement gap has narrowed - and there will be more progress to come,” de Blasio explained.

“Congratulations to the students, educators, and their families on yet another record-breaking year in our classrooms,” he added.

New York’s high school graduation rate also increased in 2018 but the improvements in the rest of the state failed to keep pace with city’s gains.

Figures released Wednesday showed the statewide graduation rate reached a record high of 80.4% in 2018, compared to 80.2% in 2016.

The state calculates graduation numbers using a June deadline. The city uses an August deadline, which produces higher percentages since it accounts for students who graduate after attending summer school.

Across the city and around the state, black and Hispanic kids, students with disabilities, and those learning English continued to face achievement gaps in 2018 graduation rates.

But some of those gaps narrowed as black and Hispanic students made outsize gains in the city.

The citywide graduation rate was 70 % for Hispanic students in 2018, a 1.6 point increase from the previous year.

And the citywide graduation rate was 72.1 % for black students last year, a 2.1 point increase from 2017.

By way of comparison, white and Asian students’ numbers grew by just 1 point and 0.8 point respectively.

Dropout rates fell across the city in 2018 and especially in Brooklyn, where it dropped from 7.4% to 6.7%.

But the dropout rate remained just of 12% in the Bronx and Hispanic students faced especially high dropout rates citywide, with one in ten Hispanic teens leaving high school before graduation.

Brooklyn College and CUNY Grad Center Education Professor David Bloomfield said these raw numbers don't tell the full story.

"Among other factors, there are more pathways to graduation than in past years and other big cities pull down state averages,” Bloomfield said. “So the news isn't as good as the city says."