Graduation rates, local & national

This page illustrates why this researcher takes having a positive learning environment seriously.  Urban school graduation and academic performance rates fall short of national statistics.

Syracuse city schools graduation rate hits 60 percent for first time in 10 years

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Syracuse City School District’s June graduation rate exceeded 60 percent last year, for the first time in 10 years.

Syracuse high schools showed the largest gains on graduation rates of the five biggest school districts in the state, according to data released by the State Education Department today.

Syracuse’s 2015 graduation rate was 54.5 percent. In 2016, 60.9 percent of students graduated on time.

The overall graduation rate for New York state also inched upward this year, to 79.4 percent from 78.1 percent last year. The state’s graduation rate is up more than 10 percent from  where it was 10 years ago.

In Syracuse, all five high schools improved their graduation rates. Two lept 10 percentage points in a single year.

Here’s a breakdown of how each of the Syracuse high schools did last year:

Corcoran: 64 percent, up from 61 percent the year before

Fowler: 44 percent, up from 34 percent

Henninger: 61 percent, up from 55 percent

Institute of Technology at Central: 89 percent, up from 79 percent

Nottingham: 66 percent, up from 62 percent

State education officials applauded the improvements, but said schools still have a long way to go, especially to close achievement gaps.

U.S. high school graduation rates rise to new high

The nation’s graduation rate rose to an all-time high in 2016, according to data released Monday. (Gabriella Demczuk for The Washington Post)

The nation’s graduation rate rose again to a record high, with more than 84 percent of students graduating on time in 2016, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education.

That is the highest graduation rate recorded since 2011, when the Education Department began requiring schools to report rates in a standardized way. The graduation rate rose by nearly a percentage point from 2015 to 2016, from 83.2 percent to 84.1 percent. It has risen about 4 percentage points since 2011, when 79 percent of students obtained a high school diploma within four years.

All minority groups saw a rise in on-time graduation rates in 2016, but gaps persist. Only 76 percent of black students and 79 percent of Hispanic students graduated on time, compared to 88 percent of white students and 91 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander students.

“Although students of color and low-income students are graduating at higher rates, we must be mindful that there are still significant gaps for historically underserved students which translate into lost potential for our communities and our country,” said John B. King Jr., who served as education secretary from 2016 to 2017. He now heads the Education Trust, which works to close the achievement gap. “The urgent work to close these graduation rate gaps must be a national priority.”

There are other reasons to be skeptical. Some districts have used questionable methods to get students to the finish line, including softening grading scales and using credit recovery programs, which allow students to take abbreviated versions of courses to make up for failing grades. In Maryland’s Prince George’s County, officials are investigating accusations that administrators inflated grades so students could graduate. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has begun an investigation into allegations that Ballou High School students were allowed to graduate despite being chronically absent.

In the D.C. area, Maryland was 12th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with nearly 88 percent of students graduating on time. Virginia was close behind, with nearly 87 percent graduating on time, putting it at 20th. Schools in the District ranked last in the nation, with a graduation rate of 69 percent in 2016, though the rate rose to 73 percent in 2017.