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Jonathan Burman, Tom Dunn, Alan Ray






            Statewide high school graduation results released today show that:


  • Statewide, 72 percent of the students who started 9th grade in 2001 had graduated after 5 years, by June 30, 2006.


  • Statewide, 67 percent of the students who started 9th grade in 2002 had graduated after 4 years. This is an increase of one percentage point from the 4-year graduation rate of students who started 9th grade in 2001.


  • The 4-year graduation rate of African-American students increased from 44 to 47 percent between 2004 and 2006, although it remains far too low and far below the rate of white students.


  • The 4-year graduation rate of Hispanic students increased from 41 to 45 percent between 2004 and 2006, although it also remains far too low.


  • New York City has increased its 4-year graduation rate from 44 percent in 2004 to 50 percent in 2006.


            “The alarm bell is ringing louder than ever. The graduation rate must improve much faster,” Regents Chancellor Robert M. Bennett said. “Unless students graduate and continue their education, their lifetime earnings will not support their families or themselves. Our State will be less competitive. We know the potential for better performance is there. Schools leaders and teachers must focus on better connections to middle school, make high school more interesting, and call on higher education and business to partner. In this year and next, expectations will be much higher; resources have not only increased but must be focused on successful practice.  Business as usual in low-performing schools is not acceptable. We know what works. The Board of Regents and the Education Department will help.”


            “The statewide graduation rate has gone up only slightly and is unacceptably low,” State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said. “We need to act urgently now. There are some bright spots. Graduation rates of African-American and Hispanic students have increased. New York City has gained. But we still have far to go. Many school leaders I’ve talked to are using effective strategies and showing gains. We must make their methods commonplace.”

            Results for the Big 4 Cities and for other categories and groups of students are included in the attached slides.


                        School districts have improved their record-keeping over time, counting more students. For example, schools first reported 199,000 students in the group who started 9th grade in 2000. A year later, they reported 210,000 students in that same group. The increase was due to better record-keeping. The 4-year graduation rates shown are based on the latest, more complete data from school districts. As a result, some of the results may vary slightly from graduation rates presented in 2005 and 2006.


                        Graduation rates calculated for the state as a whole and for all need/resource categories (for example, the Big 4 Cities as a group, New York City, High Need Urban/Suburban districts, Average Need Districts, and so forth) include all students who began 9th grade in a particular year (for example, 2002), no matter how long they remained in school. However, under the NCLB accountability system in New York State, individual school districts and schools are held accountable for all students who start 9th grade in a particular year and stay in school for at least 5 months during high school and do not transfer to another district or school. Therefore, the graduation rates for New York City’s community school districts and for all other school districts are computed in this way.


                        A list of effective strategies that school leaders are using to improve graduation rates appears at the end of the attached slides.