2016-06-15 / Features

Queens Graduation Rates Are High, Says DOE

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

When high school graduation rates for 2015 were released in January, there was good news for New York City and Queens.

For the first time ever, on-time (four-year) graduation rates for city high school students topped 70 (70.5) percent, improving by almost 24 percent from the previous decade when just 47 percent graduated in four years in 2005. But a recent report has strongly linked social and economic conditions of neighborhoods regarding race, ethnicity and gender as factors to the four-year high school graduation rate.

Among the top five graduation rates in the city, two are in Queens neighborhoods with students from a Community Board 11 district, comprised of the neighborhoods of Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck graduating at a rate of 92.2 percent, and those within a Community Board 6 district, comprised of the neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Rego Park at 91 percent. All but one of the 14 neighborhood districts in Queens scored above the City’s graduation rate of 70.5 percent.

Using a statistical analysis of neighborhood districts selected from the city’s 59 local community boards, the study strongly linked neighborhood disadvantage(s) and the likelihood of not graduating high school in four years.

The report entitled, “High School Graduation in New York City – Is Neighborhood Still Destiny?” found more than nine in ten students (95 percent) in Manhattan’s Community Board 1 and 2 graduated within four years, compared with just 61 percent, about six in ten students, in Bronx Community Board 5.

“We find that the neighborhood disparities dwarf those by race, ethnicity and gender with 34 percentage points separating the best and worst performing districts,” said the report, released on May 11 by Measure of America, a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy initiative of the Social Science Research Council.

Among the findings, it has been discovered that the higher the child poverty rate is in a community board district, the less likely a student living in the community board district will graduate high school on time (in four years). The findings also revealed the higher the median household income in a community board district, the higher the graduation rate of students who live there. Also, community board districts where comparatively few adults have completed bachelor’s degrees have considerably lower high school graduation rates than community board districts with high shares of adults with bachelor’s degrees.

In 2004, the City implemented a universal choice program where all applicants must apply to high school by ranking up to 12 high school programs from more than 700 offered, even to a neighborhood schools.

Yet, data from the report shows many students from low-income neighborhoods wind up in high schools with low graduation rates, despite the universal choice application process.

“After more than a decade of universal school choice, a child’s community school district is still highly associated with his or her likelihood of graduating high school in four years,” the report concluded, adding, “It is time for New York City to reassess its approach.”

Graduation rates in the remaining 12 Queens community districts were:

• Community Board 8 (Briarwood, Fresh Meadows and Hillcrest) – 83.9 percent.

• Community Board 7 (Flushing, Murray Hill and Whitestone) – 83.3 percent.

• Community Board 2 (Sunnyside and Woodside) – 82 percent.

• Community Board 5 (Ridgewood, Glendale and Middle Village) – 80.2 percent.

• Community Board 13 (Queens Village, Cambria Heights and Rosedale – 79.6 percent.

• Community Board 10 (Howard Beach and Ozone Park) – 79.6 percent.

• Community Board 9 (Richmond Hill and Woodhaven) – 78 percent.

• Community Board 4 (Elmhurst and South Corona) – 76.8 percent.

• Community Board 1 (Astoria and Long Island City) – 74.7 percent.

• Community Board 3 (Jackson Heights and North Corona) – 74.6 percent.

• Community Board 12 (Jamaica, Hollis and St. Albans) – 71.5 percent.

• Community Board 14 (Far Rockaway, Breezy Point and Broad Channel) – 67.7 percent.

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