Rochester's grad rate dips


Slightly more than 43 percent of city students who entered ninth grade in 2008 graduated with a Regents diploma in June 2012, according to a statement released yesterday by the New York State Education Department. Often referred to as the four-year cohort, the city schools' graduation rate dropped about 1 percent from the prior year.

When the summer session is included, however, the city’s 2012 graduation rate increased to 48.6 percent. The rate includes students who completed required coursework and graduated in August of 2012.

Rochester’s graduation rate remains the lowest of the Big Five school districts: New York City at 60.4 percent, Buffalo at 56.8 percent, Syracuse at 48 percent, and Yonkers at 66 percent. While none of the Big Five broke 70 percent, the state’s overall graduation rate for 2012 remained stable at 74 percent.

Most of the area’s suburban schools remained stable as well, with about half reaching 90 percent or higher. Brockport made the biggest gain from 81 percent to 86 percent, while Brighton slipped from 90 percent to 86 percent.

State authorities noted in a written statement on the SED’s website that, on the whole, graduation rates have weathered recently implemented tougher standards better than expected. This is the first year that most students had to earn a Regents diploma to graduate. Local high school diplomas are only available to a small group of students.

But the grad rates in most of the state’s urban districts are significantly lower than the rates in suburban districts, and college preparedness for students in Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse who do graduate is extraordinarily low, state officials say.