Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Graduation Rates of ELLs Decline in NYC Schools

New York City Department of Education officials say that the graduation rate for English Language Learners fell by almost 5 percent for the Class of 2012, in part because of tougher accountability standards. Latinos make up a large part of the  city’s ELL student population.

The overall graduation rate for June graduates declined slightly to 60.4 percent for the Class of 2012, down from 60.4 percent the previous year. According to WNYC, the ELL graduation rate was about 35.4 percent.

Officials in part said it was due to requiring a higher passing rate of a 65 on the English Regents exam. Previously, a 55 was required to graduate.

According to a press release from the department and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, additional funding of more than $4 million will be provided to 25 schools to help provide teachers training on ELLs and also will pair the schools with those who have a track record of strong performance with ELLs. Other efforts could include extended day options, more bilingual programs and new special materials.

New York University education professor Pedro Noguera told NBC Latino that the extra support is encouraging, given the achievement gaps that exist.

“There are still a large number of schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods where the most disadvantaged ELLs are concentrated,” Noguera said.. “What we know is that when you segregate kids, you deny them access to English language speakers and with that, the resources that they need.”