FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW YORK CITY'S NEW RECORD-HIGH GRADUATION RATE – AND THE 27 PERCENT INCREASE OVER JUST THE PAST FIVE YEARS – IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, March 14, 2010
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Graduating from high school is a milestone that you remember all your life. More than that, it’s crucial to success as an adult. And that’s why the numbers that the State Education Department released last week on the climbing public high school graduation rates in our city were such highly encouraging news for all New Yorkers.
“During the last full school year, the four-year graduation rate hit a new record high of nearly 63 percent. That’s the latest, strong evidence of the remarkable progress our schools have made since our education reforms began in 2002. Before then, the four-year graduation rate from City public high schools had stalled for a decade. But since then, it has climbed year after year. It’s up 27 percent in the past five school years alone – years when the graduation rate in the rest of the state grew by 3 percent.
“Those percentages represent thousands of young lives that have changed for the better. Think of it this way: Over those past five school years, more than 11,000 additional young people who otherwise wouldn’t have earned their high school diplomas did so – and went into the world ready for higher education and the workforce. During those same years, we also cut the dropout rate nearly in half. That translates into more than 7,000 more students whose chances for success and happiness in adult life increased because they stayed in school.
“Last week’s graduation numbers included two other pieces of good news. First, during 2009 more of our students than ever – nearly 45 percent – earned Regents diplomas. That’s up from 41 percent in 2008, and way up from 30 percent of graduates in 2005. Receiving a Regents diploma requires passing statewide tests in five or more subject areas. And if you do that, it’s generally understood that you’re prepared for college-level work. Within two years time, every student in the state will have to meet Regents requirements in order to graduate – and our schools are doing a steadily better job of helping students meet such high standards.
“The second piece of good news is: Students from every major ethnic group in our city continued to show consistent progress toward the goal of graduating within four years. In fact, for the first time ever the four-year graduation rate for Hispanic students broke the 50 percent mark. Counting August graduates, which both City and State education officials do, it reached nearly 56 percent. The graduation rate for students who don’t speak English as their first language, and among Special Education students, continued to go up, too.
“Now, of course, there’s still lots of room for improvement. The fact that more than 37 percent of students don’t graduate within four years clearly shows that. But just as clearly, we’re on the right track – and the accountability and higher academic standards we’ve injected into our schools over the past eight years are going to keep paying off for our students, big time.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.
“And don’t forget – Daylight Savings Time starts today. Re-set your clocks and watches, and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, too. Fire fatalities fell to an all-time low in our city last year, and those simple precautions can make a big difference in your family’s safety.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958