Regents 2008 Board Report
Regent 2008 Board Report: EMSC (continued)
"Dropping out is never an option..."
Major challenges appear in ever clearer terms in these new data. Graduation rates for English Language Learners (ELL) are very low and actually declining. While graduation rates for black and Hispanic males are improving year by year, in some cases faster than for other groups of students, the overall rates are dangerously low and demand attention. Children with disabilities do better by the fifth year of high school, but the graduation rates are too low. And in the Big Five school districts, disproportionately more children of color graduate with a local diploma, not a Regents diploma.
We know the practices that work at the district level. They include pre-kindergarten, 9th grade bridge programs, rigorous and engaging curriculum such as Career Technical Education (CTE) and hands-on science, use of leading indicators of potential failure, support services such as guidance and attendance reporting, high school literacy programs, and encouraging fifth and sixth year persistence.
We also know state policies boost graduation. The Regents have led the way with some of these policies, including world-class academic standards, Universal Pre-Kindergarten, Foundation Aid focused on the highest-need districts, rigorous accountability, demanding teacher standards, higher education opportunity programs, the USNY Summit and the resulting P-16 strategies. But even by the sixth year, graduation rates are only 73%. That represents progress but we want to be arguing about improvements from a base of 90%. The overarching question for the Board: How will we help districts get schools to 90%, and beyond?
April 3, 2009