More NYC students graduating college ready

More NYC students graduating college ready

(N.Y.) A record number of New York City students graduated high school “college ready” last year and enrolled in postsecondary programs.

The upswing, officials said, is the result of efforts to reduce college barriers for low-income youth.

Nearly 60 percent of New York City’s class of 2017 enrolled in a two- or four-year college, vocational program, or public service program after graduation, up 2 percentage points from the previous year and up 8 percentage points from the class of 2013.

In the city’s first year of implementing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence for All initiatives, college application fees were eliminated for low-income students, and the SAT exam was made available free of charge during the school day for all high school juniors, among other efforts to increased college readiness and access to postsecondary options.

“Our plan to create equity and excellence in our school system is working, with more students enrolling in college and ready for college than ever before,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We are opening the doors of opportunity to young New Yorkers regardless of zip code, and we are giving them the start and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.”

The Equity and Excellence for All initiatives were adopted to ensure students graduated ready to enter the workforce or succeed in postsecondary education. The early learning component of the initiatives includes the provision of free, full-day preschool, and supports to ensure every student is reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade. Improvements to elementary- and middle-school math instruction were undertaken, as well as guaranteed access to algebra for all 8th graders.

The city is also attempting to provide computer science instruction at every school, and give all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses.

State officials credit such efforts with the more than 45,100 students from the class of 2017 enrolling in college–a record-high and increase of more than 1,600 from the prior year, and close to 5,000 more from five years ago.

“Through our Equity and Excellence for All agenda, we are building a college and career-ready culture in every single one of our middle and high schools, removing barriers to college and career access, and giving our students the resources they need to succeed after graduation,” schools chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement. “Today we celebrate our record college enrollment–a direct result of the hard work of our students, educators and families–and pledge to continue our gains.”

City education officials also released updated School Quality Snapshots last week, which showed improvement on college readiness measures citywide.

The percentage of students in the class of 2018 who graduated on time and met the city university system’s standards for college readiness in English and math reached 51 percent–up 3 percentage points from the previous year, and up 16 percentage points from 2014.

More students also successfully completed college preparation courses and exams, at 49 percent, compared to 47 percent in 2016.

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