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New Ro HS Graduation Rate is 66% or less

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New Ro HS Graduation Rate is 66% or less

March 10, 2010 - 14:05
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New York State Chancellor announcement of New Graduation Results Released for High Schools Statewide

Statewide, almost 72 percent of the students who started 9th grade in 2005 had graduated after 4 years, by June 2009. This is compared with a 66 percent graduation rate for students who started 9th grade in 2001.

Graduation Rate Data

According to The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University and the Urban Institute, half or more of Black, Hispanic and Native American youth in the United States are getting left behind before high school graduation in a “hidden crisis” that is obscured by U.S. Department of Education regulations issued under the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) Act that “allow schools, districts, and states to all but eliminate graduation rate accountability for minority subgroups.

The graduation rates tell only half of this story. The other half is just how much did the students learn? I highlight our graduation rate because I believe that it is an indicator of our health as a society. For now, my concern is our HS graduation rate in New Rochelle. The NYS Education Department released it's HS graduation statistics yesterday. As we deliberate on how best to spend the taxes collected by members of our community, please consider the following numbers. Let me know if they upset you as they have me. Note that in NRHS, we have over 3,400 students. Roughly 60% are students of color - that's over 2,000 students. Over the last several years, I have asked questions about our graduation rates here in New Rochelle. I wanted to know what was being done to improve upon these critical numbers. The answers provided were always the same. Nothing new; nothing different. It seemed that no one knew how to address the question from a strategic, short or long term solution perspective. No focus group; no risk taking with different initiatives. Meanwhile, our children languished. Mind you that we are not expecting dramatic improvements, just modest; optimistic improvements and a public recognition that we have a problem AND that we have a plan. Look at these numbers and discuss with your school board.

The Graduation Outcome for 2005 cohort (HS Students who graduated in June 2009 - Note I am only focusing on Black and Hispanic students):

New Rochelle - HS 55% of Black students graduated while 51% of Hispanic students graduated on time. Yes the district will say that these numbers are a bit higher when you look at August or 5 year graduation or even yet 6 year graduation. Are they really? Did you know that the June graduation ceremony includes students who have not met their graduation requirements - It is not a certified graduation! Is this fair for the students who work hard and are eligible to graduate on time?

Let's look at other HS schools with similarly situated demographics or as we prefer to say in New Rochelle "diverse communities":

* Port Chester graduated 65% of Black Students and 68% of their Hispanic Students.
* White Plains graduated 70% of Black Students and 70% of their Hispanic Students.
* Ossining graduated 69% of Black Students and 65% of their Hispanic Students.
* Mt Vernon graduated 65% of Black Students and 50% of their Hispanic Students

Go to www.nysed.gov - Report Cards and check other schools throughout NY state.

By the way, our overall graduation rate, which includes all students is 66%.

Martin Sanchez

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Why are our graduation rates so low? Does anyone have a clue? At a discussion at work today on the topic some blamed standardized testing. I don't think so. Others blamed that ESL is a crutch. Many blamed the parents.

Martin Sanchez, you seem knowledgeable on this topic. What say you?

Maybe we need more Century 21 programs on the elementary level. After school remedial help, etc.

It is a sad state of affairs.

Robert Cox's picture

Are you asking about New Rochelle specifically or New York State in general?

If you look at the data you will see that kids in New Rochelle do well on standardized tests up until 5th grade -- all kids. A large chunk then somehow arrive at the high school unprepared to succeed.

Most of the kids who are not graduating are from the South End (hence the district's desire to suppress the Smith Report).

You want to do the math?

The problem is concentrated at Isaac Young Middle School.

You can only paper over a failing school with falsified test scores for so long, eventually those unprepared kids go through the pipeline and hit 12th grade and which point the jig is up for all of them.

In a word, the problem is "Anthony Bongo". The real problem is a school district more concerned with PR than Performance.

What do you expect when you have a man who running a middle school considers it some sort of badge of honor that he took 8 year to graduate college and has been enrolled in a graduate program for more than 10 years, supposedly working on his doctorate. He should be managing a Burger King somewhere not running a school.

Martin Sanchez's picture

The best place to start is to ask your School Board member. Anyone of them - they live here. You can even ask the Superintendent, but I don't know if he knows since these numbers are a norm in NYC schools. I think it is well established that we have a crisis in leadership in our High School and also in our Middle Schools. While we debate socio-economic reasons for these failings, we should be smart enough to know that we have known this as a contributing factor for over a generation. We pay our senior school administrators very well to come up with solutions. They must first acknowledge that we have a problem. They have not yet acknowledged this truism. In my world of Human Resources, if they are not performing well, they must be let go. Change is a risk, but at this point do you think things could get any worse? Hey, at a minimum ask for help from other school districts that are performing better than us - which is most of them.

You can't compare Port Chester and Ossining to New Rochelle because Port Chester is a village, Ossining is a town and village and New Rochelle is a city. Also, White Plains total graduation rate which includes 4, 5, and 6 years is 77% and New Rochelle's which also includes 4, 5, and 6 yr graduation rate 76%.

Also, NEw Rochelle High School has a higher 5 and 6 yr graduation rate than all of the cities in Westchester.

I went to White Plains High School as well as New Rochelle High School. One of the main reasons why White Plains High School has a higher 4 year grad rate than New Rochelle is how to the with students being either cutting class or being sick for less than 5 days.

We need to be concerned about the all of the students in New Rochelle not just the Black and Hispanic students who are not finishing in 4 years.
If come up with soluctions that help all of our students New Rochelle's grad rate will increase.
Counting students who drop out before 16 years of age is not fair because the parents are breaking the law by not sending there kids to school

Robert Cox's picture

1. First, the district itself routinely compares itself to Ossining and Port Chester and White Plains because they most closely mirror the demographics of New Rochelle.

2. The graduation rate is based on a count of students enrolled as of October of their 4th year (what used to be called "Senior Year" so age is not used as a measure at all; kids who are 16 or kids who drop out before October of their 4th year are not counted at all.

3. About 15% of kids who march in the graduation are not actually graduating.

4. Another large chuck of "graduates" each year are getting a "local diploma" not a New York State diploma; in other words, many kids get a piece of paper created by the school not an actual state-certified diploma.

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