This report provides a comprehensive overview of the educational performance of the New York City public schools over the past five years. It finds that educational performance has not improved during that period. Among its specific findings are:
- Only 70 percent of students complete high school, either by obtaining a diploma (60%) or a GED (10%) within seven years of initial enrollment. Only 50 percent complete high school, either with a diploma (46%) or GED (4%) within four years of initial enrollment. These figures are unchanged from the beginning of the 1990s.
- Only 44 percent of black students, and only 39 percent of Hispanic students, complete high school within four years.
- While passage rates on the State's Regents exams have increased since 1995, fewer than 50 percent of City students pass even one of these challenging exams. Only a maximum of 19 percent of City students could have passed five exams last year, based on low passage rates for Biology (16%) and Earth Science (19%). Since students will have to pass five of these exams to graduate from high school by 2005, City high school graduation rates may drop precipitously in the near future.
- City elementary and middle school students are also not learning what they need to. Only 41 percent of these students scored at an acceptable level on the citywide reading tests in 2000, while only 34 percent scored at an acceptable level on the citywide math tests.
- One in five City elementary and middle school students scored at the lowest level on the reading tests, and nearly one third of these students scored at the lowest level on the citywide math tests.
Many areas of the City are virtual educational dead zones. Seven entire districts (23, 19, 12, 7, 5, 9 & 85) have fewer than 30 percent of students passing the city's English exam, and fourteen (the seven above plus 17, 13, 8, 4, 6, 10 & 16) have fewer than 30 percent of student passing the city's Math exam.