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February 4, 2009
Predicting grad rate crisis, report calls for focus on high schools
If the graduation requirements in effect for this year's ninth-graders had applied to students who entered high school five years ago, the city's graduation rate would be just 37 percent. The new, more stringent requirements could cause the city's graduation rate, which has only recently topped 50 percent, to plummet, advocates say in a new report (pdf) about what they call a "looming crisis" for the city schools. The report, prepared by the Coalition for Educational Justice, a parent group, details how poor and minority students could suffer most under the new rules. Beginning with this year's freshman class, all high school students will have to earn what's called a Regents diploma by scoring 65 or higher on five different state exams. Until now, the state has allowed students who scored between 55 and 64 on any of the tests to graduate with a less rigorous diploma. The less rigorous diploma, called a local diploma, has been the most common type earned by city students. At a press conference on the steps of the Department of Education this morning, CEJ and dozens of other advocates called for an emergency working group of state and city education officials to focus on how to help schools where few students are on track to graduate with Regents diplomas.
October 31, 2008
New York ahead of the curve on new NCLB graduation rules
Satellite Academy graduate (via flickr) New federal regulations are going to force many states to change the way they report high school graduation rates.
October 27, 2008
In setting graduation rate goals, New York at the bottom
The states with the top five and bottom five graduation rate goals. A new report from Education Trust, the D.C.-based think tank (PDF), lays out all 50 states' target graduation rates for high schools. As the graph above shows, New York's 55% rate comes in at the bottom of the list, sneaking in right above Nevada, whose target is 50%. The targets are required by the No Child Left Behind law, which forces states to determine whether every one of their high schools is meeting standards or not. To meet standards, high schools must either meet their state's specific graduation rate target — the figures featured in the chart — or, barring that, meet an improvement goal. If a school doesn't meet the standard, consequences can be strict; in New York, punishments include forcibly shutting schools down and reopening them under a new leadership and structure. The improvement goals are sometimes shockingly low. More than half of all states allow any progress at all, or simply that a school does not let its graduation rate drop from where it was the year before. Others require the rate to go up by at least 0.01 percentage point. New York in this regard is remarkable for setting a target increase of 0.1 percentage point.
August 27, 2008
DOE: 62 percent of Class of 2007 graduated on time
Four-Year Outcomes for the Class of 2007 When the state released graduation figures earlier this month, I wondered what the city's old formula for determining graduation rates would have said about the class of 2007. Yesterday, Edwize pointed us to a 276-page report available on the DOE's website that includes the answer to that question and much, much more. Although the state's graduation figure of 52 percent is the official one thanks to an agreement between the city and state last year, the DOE still calculated the graduation rate for the class of 2007 using its old formula, which gave credit for students graduating in August and for students completing a GED or IEP diploma rather than a local or Regents diploma. According to this formula, 62 percent of students entering the city's high schools in the fall of 2003 graduated on time, an improvement of 2.3 percentage points over the class of 2006.
August 14, 2008
Mapping NYC graduation rates
On Monday, New York State released the most recent graduation rate data. How did the community school districts fare? Schools located in two districts…
August 12, 2008
Students with disabilities receiving impotent diploma at too-high rate
The graduation rate of students with disabilities continues to be a dark spot on the school completion picture in New York State. Statewide, only 5 percent of students with disabilities earn a Regents diploma in four years, and in New York City, only 20 percent of students with disabilities graduate in four years with a Regents or local diploma, according to the data the state released yesterday. Also alarming is the proportion of students with disabilities statewide who are included in the 4-year cohort data as receiving an IEP diploma: 12 percent.
August 11, 2008
City's 4-year graduation rate tops 50 percent, but problems persist
Graduation rates statewide are improving — they now average nearly 69 percent in four years — and in New York City, the 4-year graduation rate has exceeded 50 percent for the first time, for students entering 9th grade in 2003, according to data released this morning by the State Education Department. The state calculated both June and August graduation rates for the first time this year, finding that an additional 3.5 percent of New York City students graduated after completing summer school in 2007. And a fifth year of high school added 10 percentage points to the city's graduation rate for students who were in 9th grade in 2002, education officials noted.
August 11, 2008
State to announce graduation rates in live webcast this morning
According to its website, the New York State Education Department will announce graduation rates for all schools, and will release 2006-07 school report cards, in…
August 6, 2008
Wayback Wednesday: Decades of graduation inflation
Introducing a regular feature in which we take a look at the history of New York City's schools. The Gothamschools Time Machine The chancellor makes a self-congratulatory announcement about a reduced dropout rate. But analysis by a watchdog organization, often critical of the chancellor's leadership, says the real rate is much lower. On-the-ground reports from principals confirm the less impressive numbers. Statisticians express skepticism about double-digit improvements. And no one can seem to determine the best way to calculate graduation rates. This story isn't ripped from today's headlines, although if you have read Nat Hentoff's latest installment in the Village Voice, in part about the persistent unreliability of the city's graduation data, you can be forgiven for thinking it might be. It's actually from the New York Times of March 4, 1987: In a self-congratulatory mood, the New York City Board of Education three weeks ago announced what it hailed as a major improvement in the dropout rate in the city's schools, down to 30.7 percent. But the fanfare subsided when a respected educational group contended last week that a truer figure for the dropout rate in the last school year was 50.4 percent.
July 30, 2008
Stark figures on black male graduation rates
America's schools systematically fail to educate black males as well as they educate other students, according to a new report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males. If Black students did poorly in all schools, we would plausibly seek solutions to the problem of their achievement among those students themselves. The same would be the case if, in schools with majority Black enrollments, Black students did poorly and the other students did well. But in reality, Black students in good schools do well. At the same time, White, non-Hispanic students who attend schools where most of the students are Black and their graduation rates are low, also do poorly. The crisis of the education of Black males sits squarely in the middle of the crisis America faces as we work to create a world-class public education system that will support and maintain the values of a fair and equitable democratic society. According to the report, in New York State, 39 percent of black male students graduated from high school in 2005-06, compared to 75 percent of white male students, and far more black male students performed at the Below Basic level on all sections of the NAEP tests compared to white male students. Also, as the report points out, on the eighth grade NAEP reading assessment, "virtually none reach the Advanced level." Furthermore, black males in New York State are about 5 times less likely to be placed in Gifted and Talented programs, and nearly 3 times more likely to be classified as mentally retarded.
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