NYC High School Graduation Rate Rose to Record 65.5% Last Year

New York City set a record in 2011 as 65.5 percent of its high-school students graduated in four years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

It marked the 10th-straight year of higher graduation rates and a 19-point increase since 2005, the mayor said in an e-mail statement today. Schools that have opened since 2006, including those replacing institutions deemed to be failing, had double the rates of the ones they replaced, the mayor said.

The third-term mayor, a political independent, has asked residents to judge his administration on school performance. In 2002, his first year in office, he persuaded the Legislature and former Governor George Pataki to disband the Board of Education and give him control of the largest U.S. education system.

“When our administration began, schools hadn’t seen significant increases in their graduation rates in more than a decade,” said Bloomberg, 70. “Through our strategies to improve education, we’ve steadily improved graduation rates and student achievement.”

Next year, city officials plan to open 78 schools, bringing the total opened under Bloomberg to 613, the mayor’s office said in a news release.

The system, which includes 1.1 million students and about 75,000 teachers, will cost the city about $19.7 billion to operate in fiscal 2013, about 60 percent more than it did 10 years ago.

Teacher Salaries

During that decade, teacher salaries have increased about 40 percent, Bloomberg has said. A five-year $11.2 billion capital program with money borrowed through municipal bonds has been planned to renovate and build schools, according to the mayor’s 2012 spending plan.

A May 10 Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey of New York City voters found 60 percent disapproved of the mayor’s handling of the schools, while 29 percent approved. Voters preferred shared control of the schools over mayoral control by 60 percent to 17 percent, the Hamden, Connecticut-based university said.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

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