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State to release graduation rates today; city boasting 4-point rise

Graduation data for students who entered high school in 2004 will be released today, the State Education Department has announced.

The city will announce that its graduation rate jumped four points, according to the New York Post. A gain of that magnitude would outstrip the increases of the last few years and would bring the city’s official graduation rate to 56 percent.

City officials were hinting at an increase last week: Schools Chancellor Joel Klein told an audience that he had looked at internal third- and fourth-year data for many of the city’s new small high schools and seen continued gains. “The results are consistently higher,” he said, adding that the rate was continuing to inch upward at large high schools as well.

Asked about graduation rate and dropout trends, the department’s data czar Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger told the City Council on Thursday, “We certainly expect rates to rise and everything else to go down.”

Two important data points to look at when the city releases its data: the rates for students with disabilities and students who are just learning English, both of which have been nettlesome for the Bloomberg administration. Last year, the city’s 4-year graduation rate for students classified as English language learners actually fell, while the rate for students with disabilities held firm, at just under 20 percent. Being able to announce improvements in those areas would be a coup for the administration, which is in the home stretch of consolidating support for its school policies in the form of a renewed mayoral control bill.