So the state Education Department on Monday released its graduation rates for the Classes of 2012—an annual avalanche of charts and spreadsheets.
Our Tim Henderson set up an easy search engine HERE so that you can find your district’s results in a flash.
The STATEWIDE four-year graduation rate remained stable at 74 percent. But I’m not sure what that really means. When you’re talking about almost 700 school districts—including NYC, four other big-city districts, affluent suburban districts and lots of tiny rural districts—what does a statewide rate really tell us?
Locally, the results were what you would expect. Most suburban districts saw more than 90 percent of their seniors graduate on time. Districts that face “urban” challenges—kids from less affluent homes, kids who don’t speak English at home—had lower rates.
Now, the state has been pushing this idea that the overall state of public education in New York is not good—requiring a series of reforms such as the Common Core learning standards, tougher tests and a teacher evaluation system that is supposed to help teachers improve.
As if to prove the point, the state in 2011 devised a new measure of our graduates called the Aspirational Performance Measure (doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it). The Ed Dep’t contends that the APM is a more accurate measure of whether graduates are actually ready for college or the workforce.
It comes down to this: If a graduating student got a 75 or better on the English Regents Exam and an 80 or better on one math Regents, they hit the APM. The state says that, based on feedback from college admissions people, these scores are a true indicator that a student will succeed in college.
Here’s the thing: A lot of local 2012 high school classes saw smaller percentages of graduates hit the APM than you might think. Bedford, 66.9%. Croton-Harmon, 68.3%. Dobbs Ferry, 52.9%. Eastchester, 57.2%. Harrison, 53.3%. Mount Pleasant, 58.8%. Pelham, 69.8%. Somers, 59.7%, Mahopac, 48.5%, Nyack, 39.7%, Ramapo, 56%.
Some districts got REALLY low APMs: Elmsford, 23.4%. Greenburgh, 31.1%. Mount Vernon, 9.3% (9.3!!!). Peekskill, 16.3%. Port Chester, 26.2%. East Ramapo, 13.7%. Yonkers, 22.8%.
Are these school districts really sending off so many graduates who are not prepared to succeed in college?