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high school graduation
Updated May 21, 2019
This school district outsourced many of its high school courses to an online program. But it’s not clear students are learning.
New research finds the approach does help students graduate — but raises big questions about whether it actually helps them learn.
mind the gap
January 28, 2019
Across U.S., graduation rates are rising, with little connection to test scores
States with low test scores don’t necessarily have low graduation rates, and vice versa, data released last week for the class of 2017 shows.
November 14, 2013
Tougher diploma rules leave some students in graduation limbo
Philip Yeung with his daughter, Tiffany, who has tried to pass a single Regents exam 10 times since the state raised the minimum pass score. If Jessica Fuentes had better luck with timing, she might be in college now. But because she was a high school senior in 2012, the year the state raised the minimum exam scores required to graduate, she missed the new cutoff score on a few tests, failed to receive a diploma, and withdrew from the college she had planned to attend. Today, after many unsuccessful attempts to pass the tests, she is juggling three jobs while studying for a high school equivalency certificate. “I did four years of high school,” said Fuentes, 20. “What a waste of my time.” Fuentes is one of an untold number of city students ensnared by the state's efforts to raise graduation standards. Those efforts, meant to ensure that high school graduates are prepared for college, have in some cases stranded students in graduation limbo, where because a single test score is a few points too low, they must set aside plans for work and college to take taxpayer-funded test-prep classes.
June 11, 2012
New York City's graduation rates flatten after six years of growth
After years of steady improvement, the city's 4-year high school graduation rate flattened in 2011, according to new figures released by the state today. Of students who entered high school in 2007, 60.9 percent graduated four years later, according to the new figures. When August graduates are included, the rate rises to 65.5 percent. Sixty-one percent of students who entered city high schools in 2006 graduated on time in 2010. That year's graduation rate with August graduates included was 65.1 percent. The plateau comes after six years of growth that saw graduation rates rise from 46.5 percent in 2005 to 61 percent last year. Before that, graduation rates were stagnant for a decade and its steady improvement over the past six years has been one of the Bloomberg administration's cornerstone achievements to cite in defending its education policies. And as graduation standards increase, the flattened figures aren't likely to resume that rate of improvement in coming years. Graduation could drop by as much as much as 10 percent next year. That's the percentage of high school students – or about 8,000 students – who graduated with a local diploma, which allowed them to graduate despite scoring under 65 on one Regents exam. The local diploma has been phased out and the option won't be available to this year's students.
June 28, 2011
On road to college, track star leaves troubled past in the dust
As the salutatorian of Boys and Girls High School, Johanna Jimenez will deliver a speech tonight titled "A Race Called LIfe." For her classmates at Boys and Girls High School in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, many of whom have experienced hardships and overcome steep odds on the path to graduation, the title is a metaphor. But Jimenez, a top middle distance runner who is headed to college on a track scholarship, takes the idea literally. “Basically, life is like a race. You set goals, then stay focused and work hard to achieve them,” she said, explaining her speech. Jimenez's life has been less of a marathon than a series of hurdles. She overcame her mother's mental illness, foster homes, and her own insecurity to graduate from high school at the top of her class. There she joins another student-athlete, valedictorian Folashade Frazier, who will attend the University of Michigan. Together, the pair provide glimmers of hope at a school that seems perpetually at risk of closure. Absorbing some of the community's neediest students, Boys & Girls has a poor attendance rate and an even lower graduation rate. Detaching kids from their troubled personal lives is often the first hurdle teachers must clear before they can even begin instruction. Born in Puerto Rico, Jimenez and her older brother, Nathaniel, were given up at an early age by their mother, who suffered from mental illness. She lived in three foster homes and one group home between the ages of 7 and 12.
June 11, 2010
New York City’s top high school grads are more likely to be female
The city’s list of graduation speakers this year includes Obama advisor David Axelrod (Stuyvesant High School), singer Mary J. Blige (Women’s Academy of…
July 21, 2009
Lost in the political war, modest but real grad rate concerns
The accelerating 2009 mayoral campaign is distracting from real information inside an audit of city graduation rates released by the city comptroller's office today. In fact, the audit is neither as damning as Bill Thompson Jr., the comptroller and mayoral hopeful, is claiming — nor as unequivocally rosy as the Bloomberg administration says. Thompson said the audit suggests that principals and teachers responded to pressure to raise graduation rates by falsifying student records. "The New York City Department of Education has become the Enron of American education, showing the gains and hiding the losses," he said at a press conference today. But the audit found no evidence of tampering. Thompson's declaration about fudging numbers came in remarks to reporters, not the official audit. "Is it just about sloppy bookkeeping or sloppy record-keeping? I don't think so," he said. He added, "This is a case where you can read between the lines." The audit also concludes that only 2 out of 206 randomly selected graduates, or 1%, did not deserve their diplomas. That's quite different than the 10% figure being widely reported. Auditors initially challenged 19 graduates, or 10%, but threw out the concerns about 17 of them after school officials provided documents showing they earned their diplomas. And 11 of the 19 had overall grade averages of 80% or better, according to the audit.
February 27, 2009
A teacher's second thoughts after struggling seniors graduate
Pissed Off Teacher has mixed feelings about her successful effort to use a credit-recovery-like program to help a group of struggling high school seniors…
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