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PR- 207-12
June 11, 2012


All-Time High of 65.5 Percent of Students Graduate in Four Years, with Graduation Rates up 19 Points Since 2005

Five- and Six-Year Graduation Rates Also Continue to Rise as More Students Earn Diplomas Needed to Compete in Economy

Higher Percentage of Graduates Receive Advanced Diplomas as Standards Increase for Fourth Straight Year

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that the four-year graduation rate for New York City public high schools held above 65 percent in 2011, an increase of 19 points since 2005 and the tenth consecutive year of gains. A record 52,069 students graduated four years after entering high school, up from 51,006 in 2010. The percentage of students who earned higher-level diplomas rose more than four points from last year and nearly 13 points since 2008, even as graduation standards increased for the fourth consecutive year. New schools have nearly doubled the graduation rates of those they replaced: in 2006, all phasing-out high schools had a graduation rate of 38 percent; in 2011, all new high schools had a graduation rate of 70.1 percent. The Mayor and Chancellor were joined today by the principals of four schools opened since 2002 to replace Bushwick High School: Rodney Orji, principal of the Academy of Urban Planning, Marc Rush, principal of the Bushwick School for Social Justice, Nilda Gomez-Katz, principal of the Academy, and Dr. Perry Rainey, principal of the Brooklyn School for Math and Research. Together, the new schools have an average graduation rate of 68.1 percent, 45 percentage points higher than Bushwick High School in 2002. 

“More students are succeeding in our schools than ever before,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “When our Administration began, schools hadn’t seen significant increases in their graduation rates in more than a decade. Yet through our strategies to improve education, we’ve steadily improved graduation rates and student achievement for the tenth consecutive year. Our students, teachers and school administrators should be proud, and while we still have more work to do, we are certainly on the right track.”

“The Class of 2011 can smile again today as we recognize their accomplishments and wish them luck in college and careers,” said Chancellor Walcott. “We must do everything we can keep our progress going, and that means continuing to create new schools and improve the quality of teaching in our classrooms. Thanks to the principals, teachers, and students, and to the Mayor for his leadership, which has helped changed the lives of tens of thousands of students over the past decade.”

Since 2005, when the State began using its current methodology to calculate graduation rates, New York City’s graduation rate has risen by 40.9 percent. In that same period, the dropout rate has fallen nearly 10 points from 22 percent to 12.1 percent. More students are taking the time needed to complete their high school degree requirements, with five- and six-year graduation rates on the rise. Of students who entered high school in 2005, for example, 62.7 percent graduated in four years, an additional 5.6 percent in five years, and another 3.1 percent in six years.

All ethnic groups also experienced gains in the percentage of students earning Regents and Advanced Regents diplomas in 2011. In fact, 16,802 more black and Hispanic students earned Regents and Advanced Regents diplomas in 2011 than 2005. In all, 1,063 more students graduated in 2011 than did in 2010.

Next year, the City plans to open 78 new schools, bringing the total number of schools opened under Mayor Bloomberg to 613. New schools, on average, serve the same general population of students, but have outperformed existing schools, and graduate students at rates roughly 20 points higher than the schools they replaced. At large campuses where the City replaced low-performing schools with new, small schools, the overall graduation rate increased from 35.7 percent in 2002 to 68 percent in 2011, an increase of 2,093 graduates each year. In January, the nonpartisan education research group MDRC found that the new school model in New York City “markedly improves graduation rates for a large population of low-income, disadvantaged students of color.” New schools serve similar percentages of black and Latino students, English language learners, and students with disabilities relative to the schools they replace.

On both the City and State’s measures of college-readiness, New York City students have made important strides since 2005, by roughly eight points on each measure. However, much work remains to be done in order to ensure that far more students are ready for college and careers, the Department of Education has undertaken a number of initiatives to help build upon this progress. This year, every student in New York City was required to be taught at least one unit – or several weeks – of material aligned with the new Common Core Standards in English and Math. Next year, that work will be expanded to Social Studies and Science, and supported by a $14.3 million grant from the GE Foundation. While most states are waiting until 2014-15, when state tests must be aligned with these new higher standards, New York City is leading the way by preparing its schools far in advance.

Graduation rates citywide and for every high school, borough, ethnicity and gender may be found here:



Stu Loeser / Lauren Passalacqua   (212) 788-2958

Jess Scaperotti / Matt Mittenthal (DOE)   (212) 374-5141


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