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PR- 153-07
May 21, 2007


18% Gain Since Start of Mayoral Control in 2002; Highest Level since City Began Calculating Rate in 1986

Gains Mirror State’s Findings; City to Use State Figures in Future

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that the four-year high school graduation rate in New York City has reached 60%, the highest level since the City began calculating the rate in 1986 and an 18% increase since the Mayor assumed control of the public schools in 2002.  The gains mirrored the increases reported last month by the New York State Education Department, which, using a different methodology, put the City’s rate at 50%, a rise of 14% since 2004, when the State began reporting comprehensive graduation rates.  Applying the State’s methodology retroactively to 2002, the graduation rate of New York City students has risen 20%.  Under either formula—the City has made impressive gains in its graduation rate.  At a luncheon at the headquarters of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) attended by CSA President Ernest Logan, Deputy Mayor Dennis M. Walcott, and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, the Mayor said that to avoid confusion between the State and City measurements, the City would begin using the State’s methodology in the future.

“By any yardstick, a higher percentage of New York City high school students are graduating now than at any time in decades,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The rate has risen every year during this administration and is an important validation of our reforms, Chancellor Klein’s leadership, and the hard work of our students, principals, and teachers. The rate obviously remains far too low, but the gains demonstrate that our hard work to raise student achievement is paying off, and we are beginning to turn around a failing system.”

“A student should have every opportunity to graduate whether it takes four, five or more years,” said Chancellor Joel Klein. “Given the work and family responsibilities and language obstacles facing many of our students, it is imperative that we continue to offer rigorous if non-traditional ways for these students to earn a meaningful degree.”

The City rates released today, which were audited by the accounting firm Ernst & Young, show that 59.7% of the class of 2006 graduated after four years. Additionally, for the first time, the graduation rate among each of the four largest ethnic subgroups surpassed 50%. The graduation rate for Hispanic students increased to 50.8%, up from 41.1% in 2002. The rate for black students rose to 54.6%, up from 44.4% in 2002. The graduation rates for black and Hispanic students have increased every year since 2002.  The graduation rate of Asian students increased to 74.5%, from 66.9% in 2002, and for white students the rate increased to 76.9%, from 70.5% in 2002.

The City’s data, like the State’s, also showed a significant rise in the number of students earning a diploma within five years. The City’s 2006 five-year graduation rate rose to 66%, up from 63% in 2005 (by the State’s calculation, the rate increased to 57%, from 53% in 2005). A smaller number of students continue to achieve diplomas beyond five years:  the City’s six-year graduation rate is 68%, the same as in 2005, and the seven-year rate is 70%, up from 68% in 2005.  Because students may not remain in school after the age of 21, the City does not calculate the graduation rate after seven years.

When the State began calculating comprehensive graduation rates in 2004, it used a different formula than the one used by the City since the mid-1980s.  The City has always included in its graduation rate formula students who earn General Equivalency Degrees, students who earn the credits to graduate in summer school following graduation, and a small number of students in general education classrooms who earn Individualized Education Program (IEP) diplomas.  By contrast, the State does not include these groups in its formula and includes students who receive special education services in the most restricted environment (e.g., self-contained classrooms), a group which the City does not include.

The shared methodology that the City and State will use next year will include students who earn credits to graduate in summer school following graduation. Because the State did not begin to comprehensively calculate the graduation rate until 2004, the City will also continue to calculate the traditional rate in order to make longer-term comparisons.


Stu Loeser / Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958


David Cantor   (212) 374-5141

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