March 19, 2012

Improving graduation rates supports strong investment in schools

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. March 19, 2012 - A report showing New York's graduation rates are significantly on the rise is further proof the state should view education as an investment and not a budget cut.

The report -to be presented today in Washington at the Building a Grad Nation Summit, sponsored by America's Promise Alliance - found New York was one of only two states in the nation to have increased graduation rates by double digits between 2002 and 2009. According to the report, New York's graduation rate went up from 60.5 percent to 73.5 percent, up 13 percentage points, even with the state's more rigorous standards and graduation requirements.

"Today's report provides excellent news and validation that our students and their schools are succeeding," said New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Despite assertions by some in public office, graduation rates have increased even as the state has continued raising the bar for graduation requirements. Clearly, we are moving in the right direction, and that's a credit to the hard work of teachers and students across the state.

"As lawmakers in Albany continue their budget deliberations, they should do so with the knowledge that investing in education is an investment in the young people of our state and in their futures."

The release of the report follows other recent studies and rankings that show New York's public schools as among the best in the nation. Earlier this year, the respected Education Week magazine found New York third in the U.S., based on six educational criteria. New York received an overall "grade" of B; the national average was C.

At the same time, CNBC issued a report showing that education in New York was tops in the nation in terms of what employers need, while more than 100 students from across the state were named semi-finalists in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search - the most students from any state.

"All of this evidence - objective and non-partisan - continues to mount: New York's schools are not only successful but are among the best of the best," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "Can we do better? Of course we can. But New Yorkers can be proud of their schools and should be skeptical of those who try to tear down public education."

NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents some 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.


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