High school graduation rates rise in New York State

Katrina Barker
February 8, 2018

The rate of students who entered 9th grade in 2013 and graduated previous year increased to 80.2 percent.

When the study included August graduates, the Class of 2013 graduation rate increased to 82.1 percent. That's the same percentage as the prior year. Ybarra's opponent in the May 15 Republican primary, Wilder School District Superintendent Jeff Dillon, said "we can do better". "At the same time, however, troubling gaps in achievement persist, and we must accelerate the pace of improvement".

New Rochelle High School Principal Reginald Richardson said the school was directing resources and support to its 11th- and 12th-graders, but said giving similar attention to students in the early high school years was overlooked and will be reinforced more going forward.

The news, in general, is positive, said MaryEllen Elia, state education commissioner.

Elia says equity also continues to be a problem.

"We had over the past four years been making steady gains, incremental gains, and we think when you look back at the past cohort we need to make adjustments in the way that we track students", he said. "When we achieve greater equity, we will see student achievement improve across the board - and that will result in greater numbers of students graduating, regardless of their race, ethnicity, wealth, disability status, or any other basis".

English-language learners also lagged the city average, with just 32.5% of those students graduating on time in 2017. While almost 95 percent of students in more affluent districts graduated in four years, just 64 percent of students in districts like Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Yonkers did. The others held steady. The difference was about 20 percentage point.

"I am happy we are going the right way, but I'm not even close to being satisfied", said Niagara Falls Superintendent Mark Laurrie.

Of Idaho's larger high schools, 10 graduated more than 90 percent of their students - Eagle (West Ada), Madison, Hillcrest (Bonneville), Rocky Mountain (West Ada), Timberline (Boise), Highland (Pocatell0), Lake City (Coeur d'Alene), Boise and Capital (Boise).

"By the time they get to third grade, they're struggling", Laurrie said.

The average was 63.9 percent in the high-need large city districts: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers. Last year, the Legislature approved increased funding for college and career advising and the State Board has requested an additional $5 million this year to expand those efforts to freshmen and sophomore students. That's an issue that the district is working to address, he said.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said the graduation rates marked steady progress - up almost 12 percentage points over 10 years - but highlighted persistent differences between black and Hispanic students and their white classmates.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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