Graduation rates fall slightly in New York City

June 17, 2013 2:43:39 PM PDT
Graduation rates in New York City dropped slightly this year, while holding steady across the state as higher standards were implemented.

New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. released high school graduation rates for the 2008 cohort (students who entered 9th grade in 2008).

Overall statewide graduation rates remained stable at 74 percent despite increased rigor required for graduation phased-in over the past four years. The graduation rates in New York City dropped to 60.4% in 2012, down from 60.9% in 2011.

King said the announcement shows the hard work of educators, parents, and students across the state proved the opponents of higher standards wrong.

Tisch noted that the Board of Regents recognizes there is still more work to do to ensure every student in the state graduates ready for college and careers. She said the Common Core standards, implemented in kindergarten through 8th grade in 2012-13, will begin to be phased-in for high school in 2013-14, when the Algebra Regents will be aligned with the Common Core. The 9th graders who enter high school in September 2013 will be the first cohort required to receive Common Core instruction throughout high school and the first required to take Regents exams that reflect the Common Core.

"Despite all the naysayers, raising standards was the right thing to do," Tisch said. "Our teachers and students rose to the challenge. Now it's time to rise to the next challenge."

"The graduation rates, the achievement gaps, and the painfully low rate of college and career readiness statewide are just more evidence of the need to act decisively to fully implement those reforms," King said.

Tisch and King both expressed concern about the low percentage of students graduating college and career ready, particularly students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. The performance gap between high need and low need districts continues to be nearly 30 percent, with nearly 94 percent of students from low need districts graduating as opposed to only 65 percent of students from high need urban-suburban districts earning a high school diploma. King also said the graduation rate for white students is nearly 28 percentage points higher than the rates for Black and Hispanic students. The college and career readiness gap is even greater.

Most students entering New York's community colleges are required to take remedial courses - and pay college prices for high school classes. Coupled with the state's relatively stagnant college attainment rate, Tisch said it's clear to the Board of Regents that continued urgent action is imperative.

A full report of the data is available at this web address: