Good news, New York City. We just got smarter than ever. Oh, what's that? You didn't think we could get any smarter?

Well, we could, and we did. The New York Times reported that New York State officials met on Monday to discuss changes to high school graduation requirements, and at that meeting, they announced the graduation rate had inched up.

Which means that for the first time ever, NYC's high school graduation rate went above the 70% mark.

Okay, put your streamers away. We can't celebrate quite yet because while the increase is great, 70% is not quite high enough.

We also can't celebrate because the numbers are skewed when examined through the lens of class and race.

White students remained much more likely than black or Hispanic students to receive a diploma, and high school graduation is still out of reach for many students with disabilities.

A little more than 78% of New York State students who entered high school in 2011 graduated on time, which is up from 76.4% last year.

Still, 88% of white students graduated on time last year, while only 65% of black and Hispanic students did the same, and only 50% of students with disabilities graduated on time.


The State Department said that 62% of this year's students that dropped out of high school were black or Hispanic, and that 64% were poor. We recognize that "poor" is a subjective term. In this context, it's subject to the definition of that word by the State Department.

In New York City, things are moving slowly, but at least slowly in the right direction. 

This year, 85% of Asian students graduated from high school, as did 82% of white students, while 65.4% of black and 64% of Hispanic students graduated. Still, the percentage of Hispanic students who graduated this year is up 2.5% from last year. 

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In other news of small progress, the city's dropout rate declined slightly, down .7% this year to 9% of students.

These results are even more significant given that they occurred during changes in graduation requirements in New York State in recent years.

At a news conference on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio recognized that the increase in graduation may be due to the work of his forerunner Michael Bloomberg.

"We're proud to have picked up and deepened that progress," de Blasio said.

Still, de Blasio also recognizes that a 70% graduation rate is not as high as it needs to be.

"Our new approach has us well on the way to the goal of 80 percent graduation rate over the next 10 years," de Blasio said.

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[via The New York Times]