The Drop-out Crisis: Big Gains in the Big Apple

July 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last fall, the New York City public schools granted Justin Skeete, a twenty-year-old dropout from a crime-ridden section of Coney Island, a third and last chance to graduate from high school. Once he turned twenty-one, he would be too old. His new school, Liberation Diploma Plus High School, was taking a risk: Justin arrived with a bad attitude. He cursed out teachers and fellow students. He didn’t care about homework. His odds of finishing looked bleak, but Liberation, with a tiny student population of fewer than 200, was prepared for students like Justin.

Justin’s turnaround is part of a bigger transformation in New York City, the largest school district in the nation. In 2009, the city pushed its four-year graduation rate to 63 percent, up from 47 percent in 2005, according to the state. By the city’s calculations, which count GEDs as diplomas, the graduation rate rose from 51 percent in 2002 to 68 percent last year. More students are also hanging on after four years: more than 65 percent of the students who remain for five or six years eventually graduate, according to state figures. READ MORE…

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