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Rochester City School District Graduation Rate Increases; State’s Minority Achievement Gap Still Persists

By Staff –


black gradThe Rochester City School District’s June graduation rate has increased, rising from 47.7 percent in June 2016, to 51.9 percent in June 2017; however, the state’s minority achievement gap still persists across the state, according to data released by the New York State Education Department.

The district’s graduation rate, overall, increased by 4.2 percent, although RCSD remains the lowest performer among the Big Five districts in the state.

And, although the numbers have been on an upward trend over the past few years; statewide, the data also showed that black and Hispanic students graduated at lower rates than their white peers, at 69.3 percent and 68.4 percent respectively, compared to 89 percent of their white counterparts.

Rochester’s minority students, however, did achieve modest gains, with the graduation rate increasing by 1.9 percent for Hispanics, and 3.7 percent for black students, from 2016 to 2017.

Throughout the state as a whole, only 26.6 percent of English Language Learners (ELL) graduated on time in 2017, down from 26.9 percent during the same time in 2016.

In addition, statewide, the graduation rate rose slightly from 79.7 percent to 80.2 percent, from 2016 to 2017, or by an increase of 0.5 percent.

The numbers are based on the cohorts of students who entered 9th grade in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

“The Regents and I are focused on providing greater equity for students throughout the entire education system,” Board of Regents chancellor Betty Rosa 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. The Board of Regents will continue its efforts to foster educational equity for all New York schools and children.”

Executive director of The Education Trust–New York Ian Rosenblum, also released the following statement regarding the data:

“While we are encouraged that graduation rates continue to improve incrementally, this year’s results point to the need to accelerate progress for low-income students and students of color while maintaining high expectations for all students. We are concerned that much of the statewide gain appears to be driven by an increase in local diplomas rather than Regents diplomas, and by the declining 4-year graduation rates and increasing dropout rates for English language learners. These represent critical equity issues as state education leaders continue to explore changes in graduation pathways and focus on strategies to ensure quality instruction to help every student graduate ready for college and careers.”

In addition to Rochester’s graduation rate, the graduation rate in Buffalo also increased, rising from 61.7 percent to 62.7 percent, from June 2016 to June 2017, and, in Yonkers, the rate increased from 78.3 percent to 82.8 percent, during the same period of time.

Syracuse experienced a slight decrease in its students’ graduation rate, with the graduation rate dropping from 61 percent to 60.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, and the graduation rate in New York City has increased from 70 percent to 70.1 percent, correspondingly.

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