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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MONDAY, AUGUST 11, 2008                         

For More Information Contact:

Jonathan Burman or Tom Dunn



            Statewide high school graduation results reported by school districts and released today show that:


            “Graduation rates have improved slightly overall, but they need to improve much faster,” Regents Chancellor Robert M. Bennett said. “Students must graduate and continue their education to ensure their lifetime earnings will support themselves and their families. The potential is there. Resources have increased, and will increase again this coming year. School leaders and teachers must use practices that work, create better connections between middle and high school, and call on higher education and business to partner. This will be a major issue for the Board of Regents this coming year.”

“Too many do not graduate, yet the three year trends are encouraging,” State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said.  “Black and Hispanic students showed 5.5 and 5.2 percentage point gains in the 2003 cohort when compared to those who started ninth grade in 2001.  White students improved too, but not as fast – another indicator of a narrowing achievement gap.  Each cohort did better than the one before, and within cohorts, the fifth and sixth year results show a still greater proportion of the class graduating.  Persistence counts. Even the June to August improvements are promising. Teachers and principals combined pressure and support during the summer months to get another 5,500 students over the bar last August.”

Commissioner Mills went on to say, “The many examples of improvement don’t yet outweigh the remaining challenges, but there are enough of them to demonstrate that thousands more children have graduated than just a few years ago and more will graduate in the years immediately ahead. We have to keep our focus and urgency and help the students who still are not succeeding.”

            Statewide results and results for the Big 5 Cities and for other categories and groups of students are included in the attached slides.