NEW YORK (WABC) --New York state's high school graduation rate continued its slow climb in 2016, when 79.4 percent of students earned a diploma after four years.
The graduation rate released Friday by the state Department of Education is 1.3 percent higher than the 78.1 percent for the class of 2015. State officials say black and Hispanic students and students in the bigger cities were among those making gains.
New York City's rate rose to a record 72.6 percent, a 2.1 point gain. The dropout rate fell to its lowest ever, at 8.5 percent.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina said the improvements in both graduation and dropout rates were highest for Hispanic and black students, and every single borough saw its graduation rate increase and dropout rate decrease - with the highest increase in graduation rate in the Bronx.
"Our public schools are unquestionably the strongest they've ever been," de Blasio said. "We're graduating more students than ever before, and we are on track to reach our Equity and Excellence for All goal of 80 percent of students graduating on time."
Syracuse posted a 6.4 percent increase, to 61 percent, while the other so-called Big Five school districts of Buffalo, Rochester and Yonkers had graduation rates of 61.7 percent, 47.5 percent and 77.5 percent, respectively.
New York state has 2.6 million students in public schools. State data shows that more than half are considered economically disadvantaged.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)