By Naeisha Rose
The mayor’s office announced last week that out of the five boroughs, Queens had the largest improvement in terms of graduation and dropout rates.
The graduation rate in Queens increased by 1.7 percent to 77.8 percent in 2017, up from 76.1 percent in 2016, according to a chart from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.
The dropout rate for Queens’ students is depicted in the chart as going down by 1.3 percent to 6.4 percent in 2017.
According to de Blasio, the city’s four-year high school graduation rate is the highest on record at 74.3 percent and the dropout rate is now the lowest ever at 7.8 percent.
“New York City is showing that when we invest in our students, they rise to the challenge and do better and better,” said de Blasio. “Our kids are graduating high school and going to college at record rates, while dropping out less than ever before. If we are going to make New York City the fairest big city in America, it starts with giving our kids the education they deserve, and we are executing this vision every day.”
The improvements in graduation rates and the decline in dropout rates were also seen across all ethnic groups as well.
Asian students had the highest percent gain in graduation rates, while the biggest decline in dropout rates was among black students.
Nearly 30 of the renewal schools across the city had improved, too.
Renewal schools are institutions that have struggled for a few years or were persistently struggling for several years, but receive funding in hopes that student test scores, college readiness and enrollment will turnaround within three years or face being shutdown, according to city’s Dept. of Education.
The Brian Piccolo Middle School (MS 53) and the Robert Vernam School (PS/MS 42) are the two renewal schools in Queens on the chopping block for this year, according to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
The graduation rate for 28 renewal schools increased by 5.7 percent to 65.7 percent, according to the mayor’s office. The dropout rate for students at renewal schools went down by 2.2 percent to 16.4 percent in 2017.There were 12 renewal schools in Queens as of Fall 2017.
Last year also saw the highest numbers ever for city students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams, said Fariña. This year also saw the highest college readiness rate on record, and 64 percent of high school students graduated on time.
With the SATs now being free of charge for juniors, 61,800 students took the exam last year, according to the chancellor.
For the second year in a row, city students outperformed their upstate counterparts in English, while elementary to middle school students made gains in state english and math subjects, said Fariña.
De Blasio and Fariña hope that through the Equity and Excellence for All initiative, which has introduced education to students as young as three and is strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier, that the graduation rate will be 80 percent by 2026.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose