Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Fariña Announce Highest-Ever Graduation Rate

February 10, 2017

Graduation rate rises to 72.6 percent and dropout rate hits low of 8.5 percent with largest improvements for Hispanic and Black students

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced that New York City’s four-year high school graduation rate hit a historic high in 2016 – 72.6 percent. The dropout rate fell to the lowest ever – 8.5 percent. The improvements in both graduation and dropout rates were highest for Hispanic and Black students. Every single borough saw its graduation rate increase and dropout rate decrease – with the highest increase in graduation rate in the Bronx.

Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda will build on this progress, ensuring that by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college ready.  Equity and Excellence for All is building a path from pre-K to college and careers for every child in every neighborhood in New York City.

“Our public schools are unquestionably the strongest they’ve ever been – we’re graduating more students than ever before, and we are on track to reach our Equity and Excellence for All goal of 80 percent of students graduating on time,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From Day 1, we’ve believed in the promise of our public schools as the ladder to success for all New Yorkers, and we are raising the bar at every school in every zip code.” 

“Our record-high graduation and the record-low dropout rates are a testament to the hard work of our students, their families, and our educators,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Our focus has always been on the work going on in every classroom, and that’s where it’s going to stay. While this is a day to celebrate progress, we’re working harder than ever to improve instruction and provide equity and excellence for all students.”

The rates below are the graduation and dropout percentages among the cohort of all students who entered 9th grade in the fall of 2012. All percentage point changes are comparisons to the previous year.

  • The graduation rate rose to 72.6 percent, a 2.1 point gain
  • The dropout rate fell to 8.5 percent, a 0.5 point decrease

Graduation rates improved across all ethnicities, with Hispanic and Black students posting the highest gains:

  • Hispanic students’ graduation rate increased to 66.9 percent, a 2.9 point gain
  • Black students’ graduation rate increased to 68.1 percent, a 2.6 point gain
  • Asian students’ graduation rate increased to 85.6 percent, a 0.6 point gain
  • White students’ graduation rate increased to 82.1 percent, a 0.1 point gain

Dropout rates fell or remained the same across all ethnicities:

  • Hispanic students’ dropout rate fell to 11.2 percent, a 0.7 point decrease
  • Black students’ dropout rate fell to 8.8 percent, a 0.6 point decrease
  • Asian students’ dropout rate fell to 4.6 percent, the same as last year
  • White students’ dropout rate fell to 4.8 percent, a 0.4 point decrease

Graduation rates increased and dropout rates fell in every borough. The largest improvement in graduation rates was in the Bronx:

Graduation

Dropout

2016 # Cohort

% 2016 Grad

% 2015 Grad

Pt. Diff

2016 # Cohort

% 2016 Dropout

% 2015 Dropout

Pt. Diff

Bronx

13,838

64.8

61.8

3.0

13,838

12.7

13.1

-0.4

Brooklyn

20,823

72.2

70.8

1.4

20,823

7.6

8.3

-0.7

Queens

19,398

75.5

73.3

2.2

19,398

7.7

7.9

-0.2

Manhattan

15,569

74.6

72.5

2.2

15,569

7.4

7.7

-0.4

Staten Island

4,544

79.3

77.4

1.9

4,544

6.4

7.5

-1.2

Graduation rates also increased at the City’s 31 Renewal high schools. The graduation rate increased to 59.3 percent, a 4.8 percent increase – more than double the citywide increase in graduation rate. The dropout rate was 18.6 percent, a 0.8 point increase.

Earlier this school year, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña announced:

  • The highest-ever postsecondary enrollment rate – 55 percent of the Class of 2015.
  • The highest-ever number of New York City students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams in 2016 with an 8.4 percent jump in students taking at least one AP and 8.2 percent jump in students passing at least one AP over the previous year.
  • The highest-ever college readiness rate – 37 percent of all students, and 51 percent of graduates, in the Class of 2016 graduated high school on time and met CUNY’s standards for college readiness in English and math.
  • The highest-ever percentage of high school juniors taking the SAT – 52 percent. All juniors will be able to take the SAT free of charge during the school day this school year.

The progress extends to elementary and middle school grades – students made substantial gains on the most recent State English and math exams. For the first time, City students are now outperforming their New York State peers in English. 

Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence for All initiatives are building a pathway to success in college and careers for all students. Our schools are starting earlier – free, full-day, high-quality pre-K for every four-year-old through Pre-K for All. They are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier – Universal Literacy so that every student is reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade; and Algebra for All to improve elementary- and middle-school math instruction and ensure that all 8th graders have access to algebra. They are offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework – Computer Science for All will bring 21st Century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All will give all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, they are giving students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools.

More information on New York City’s graduation and college readiness and rates can be found at http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/data/GraduationDropoutReports/default.htm.

“Congratulations to our students, educators and families across New York City – this is truly remarkable work. The highest-ever graduation rate and the lowest-ever dropout rate in our City’s history is a big accomplishment, and we won’t rest until every single student is firmly on the path to succeed in college and careers. We will continue working towards our vision of equity and excellence for all, by strengthening teaching and learning in every single classroom from pre-K to graduation,” said Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Phil Weinberg.

"As a parent of a public school student, I realize how important the reforms Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina have been for all students these past few years. Now everyone knows that they have proved successful. Careful attention to at -risk students, guidance counselors, after school middle school and support for our high schools as full comprehensive schools is raising graduation rates and perhaps even more importantly, lowering drop out and discharge rates among our young adults; the future of our city. I look forward to even more positive results as pre-K and other Equity and Excellence initiatives continue. Congratulations to all the principals, teacher, parents, staff and students at all our schools, but especially our high schools," said Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education.

"Graduation rates are at a record high thanks to our City's substantial investment in public education," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Education Committee. "Because we have embraced progressive approaches to education such as community schooling and restorative justice practices, thousands of students are now on the path to success. I celebrate these historic results and will continue to work alongside the administration to build upon this achievement."

"Our City’s future is tied to the quality of education we provide to our young people and how successfully we equip them for adulthood," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "These higher achievement rates are great news, and I will continue to work with the Department of Education to strengthen the opportunities and support provided in our schools, with an emphasis on access to the latest technology and STEAM resources."

"Any improvement in graduation rates is encouraging. I look forward to the day when our children can all do math and reading at grade level, because we all know that there are too many people who need remedial work when they enter college. I also look forward to the day when the schools in my district receive the same resources as children in other parts of the city, so they can have the same opportunities to thrive and compete in our global market," said State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.

"Our students, our teachers, our schools have been doing the hard work, and here you are seeing the results," said President of the United Federation of Teachers Michael Mulgrew. "By focusing our energy and resources on the classroom, we are making a difference for students across the city. Our job now is to keep up the momentum."

"These numbers are a tribute to our students, their families, and the teachers, staff and school leaders who make our public schools second to none," said Council of School  Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan. "We must not forget that high school diplomas change lives."

“In 2004, a study commissioned by the Partnership for New York City identified the four year graduation rate as a dismal 54.3 percent. The significant improvement in student performance reported today reflects the impact of mayoral control of school governance and the success of the de Blasio Administration and Chancellor Farina in aligning the interests of teachers, parents and the business community in support of our public schools,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of Partnership for New York City.

"The growth in graduation rates and decrease in dropouts underscores the fact that reforms based on increasing student opportunities are more effective than the old test and punish approach," said Billy Easton, Executive Director of Alliance for Quality Education.

“There is no doubt the City’s school system is moving in the right direction under Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña,” said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation. “We are starting to see real gains in Latino student performance and outcomes due to visionary investments in universal pre-kindergarten, community schools and English language learner programs. Nonetheless, far too many Latino students are still struggling to learn in underfunded, overcrowded schools without the full array of academic and social service supports needed to graduate college ready. Hispanic Federation is committed to continuing to work with this administration to amplify and speed up these improvements to ensure another generation of Latino kids doesn’t fall through the cracks.”

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