Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott Announce New York City Students Achieved All-Time Record High School Graduation Rates in 2012-2013 School Year

December 4, 2013

New All-time High of 66 Percent, an Increase of 42 percent Since 2005

Since 2005, College Readiness Has Doubled As Dropout Rates Have Fallen By Half

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Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced the four-year graduation rate for New York City public high schools in the 2012-2013 school was 66 percent – a new record high. According to preliminary figures, 66 percent of students graduated in 2013, an increase of 42 percent since the State began releasing New York City graduation rates in 2005. In 2013, the City graduated nearly 52,000 students in four years, an increase of about 17,500 students compared to 2005. Since 2005, the percentage of students graduating college-ready has increased by nearly 50 percent from 32 percent in 2005 to 46 percent in 2013, while the dropout rate has been cut in half, including a seven percent decline since last year alone. The reduction in the dropout rate, translates into nearly 55,000 fewer students dropping out since 2005. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott made the announcement at City College Academy of the Arts in Upper Manhattan.

“The continued increase in graduation rates provide further evidence of the incredible progress New York City students are making and the impact our reforms have had in transforming a once dysfunctional educational system,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “For twelve years we’ve raised standards, given students and teachers more support and held our students accountable – and the results speak for themselves: record high graduation rates, a narrowing of the achievement gap, dropout rates at all-time lows and more students graduating college-ready than ever before.”

“We have made historic gains. Graduation rates are at record highs, dropout rates are at all-time lows, and more students are college-ready than ever before. This remarkable progress was once considered unimaginable – and it's the clearest example yet that our reform strategy is working,” said Schools Chancellor Walcott. “We are proud that we have delivered the greatest gains for black and Hispanic students – our efforts have achieved historic jumps of more than 50 percent since 2005 for those students. The record numbers would not have been possible without our incredibly dedicated school staff, our parents who are tremendous partners, and especially our students who have worked extremely hard to prepare themselves for college and careers.”

With higher standards for graduation than ever before, still more students from every ethnicity are receiving high school diplomas. Since 2005, black and Hispanic students have made the most notable gains in graduation rates, jumping 53 percent and 58 percent respectively. Moreover, the Administration’s focus on black and Hispanic males has helped drive graduation increases of 75 percent and 76 percent since 2005, respectively. At the same time, the graduation rate for students with disabilities has climbed 119 percent, from 17 percent in 2005 to more than 37 percent in 2013.

Further, the City’s deep focus on empowering school leaders and strengthening instruction has led graduates to be better prepared for future success than ever before. Over the past eight years, the percentage of students graduating ready for college has nearly doubled. Further, Regents diplomas have more than doubled since 2005. Graduation standards have risen since 2008 and today, to receive a diploma all students are required to earn a score of 65 or higher on all five core subject Regents exams. In 2013, 62.6 percent of students graduated with a Regents diploma, up from 30 percent in 2005.

Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott announced that since 2002, the number of New York City students taking and passing Advanced Placement (AP) exams has more than doubled. According to data produced by the College Board, New York City student participation in AP exams rose eight percent in the last year to 35,590 students and has more than doubled since 2002. Performance on and participation in the SAT has increased, too. The number of high school seniors taking the SAT has increased by 53 percent since 2002, and from 2012 to 2013 New York City saw performance gains in all SAT subjects while scores across the nation remained flat or declined.

These exceptional results come after a decade of boosting accountability, raising standards, and creating more options. Over the past 12 years, the City has opened 656 new, small schools, with 76 opening their doors this past September. New schools, on average, serve the same general population of students, but have consistently outperformed existing schools. The non-profit, non-partisan research group MDRC has put out multiple reports validating the City’s new school strategy, and MIT and Duke researchers provided clear evidence last month that New York City’s new schools have a positive impact on student performance and are graduating higher number of students than those open before 2002.

The City was able to confirm the data with the State earlier than normal and wanted to make the data publicly available. Based on past results, any change in the numbers from these preliminary rates to the final scores released by the State next year will be negligible (expected to be less than one-tenth of one percent).

Contact:

Marc La Vorgna / Jake Goldman (212) 788-2958

Devon Puglia (DOE) (212) 374-5141