More Depressing News About Syracuse’s Public Schools

We already knew that the graduation rates for students from the Syracuse City School District was depressingly low, hovering near 50%. Now, The NY State Board of Regents has released data on both graduation rates and performance on the final Regents exams showing that a depressing number of high school graduates are not ready for college-level work.

In New York State, 77% of general education students (those students not enrolled in special education classes) graduate from high school. Students are required to attain at least a 65 grade on the five Regents exams (math, English, science, global history and American history) to qualify for graduation. However, the Regents also determined that students needed to score a minimum of 75 on the English test and an 80 on the math test to be considered “college ready”, able to achieve the equivalent of a C grade in a college class. Only 41% of general education students statewide were able to meet that minimum standard.

In Syracuse, the story is even worse. 50% of the city’s general education students graduate from high school, but only 15% are considered “college ready.” It gets even worse if you break the statistics down by race. All ethnic groups of students in Syracuse’s public schools perform significantly worse than the statewide average scores for their ethnic groups. While 47% of African-American students in general education classes graduate from Syracuse high schools, only 5% are considered “college ready.” (Statewide African-American totals: 62% – -15%) Only 33% of Hispanic general education students in the city’s high schools graduate and only 1% are considered “college ready.” (Statewide Hispanic totals: 60% – – 17%) 56% of white general education students graduate from Syracuse’s high schools, but only 21% are considered “college ready.” (Statewide White totals: 87% – – 56%)

It’s not just struggling urban districts like Syracuse facing this problem. Charter schools and low need schools also have striking gaps between their graduation rates and “college ready” rates. Statewide, charter schools graduate only 49% of their general education students and only 10% of those students are considered ‘college ready.” Even affluent school districts have a significant gap. Statewide, these so-callled Low Need schools graduate 95% of their general education students, yet only 72% of these graduates are considered “college ready.”

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