Press Release

The following statement can be attributed to Dia Bryant, deputy director and chief partnerships officer for The Education Trust–New York:

“The increase in the high school graduation rate for the Class of 2020 masks urgent equity questions about historical and persistent opportunity gaps. With the unprecedented interruption of classroom instruction and learning due to the pandemic last March and no Regents exams or other consistent measures of student readiness for many students, we are deeply concerned about whether the Class of 2020 left high school ready for college and the workforce. Continuing to support the Class of 2020 must remain an educational, economic, and civic commitment.

“We are especially concerned that high-need school districts that serve the most students from low-income backgrounds and students of color had far higher average rates of ‘exemptions’ in awarding diplomas, including to students who did not complete Regents exams due to the pandemic or for other reasons.

Need Resource Capacity Category Average number of graduates with one or more Regent exemptions
Large City 32%
Charter Schools 21%
Urban-suburban high-need districts 20%
New York City Department of Education 17%
Rural high-need districts 10%
Average-need districts 8%
Low-need districts 3%

“As the effects of the pandemic continue – and have the most severe impact on students who have been historically underserved by our education system, including students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, English learners, and students with disabilities – we call on state and local education leaders to ensure that this year’s high school seniors receive even greater support and help transitioning to college and the workforce. The New York State Education Department’s new guidance on ‘Supporting the Graduating Class of 2021‘ provides a valuable blueprint of concrete steps that all school districts should immediately implement, and we are grateful to NYSED for providing this leadership.”

Reporter backgrounder:

Global Strategy Group poll memo: October 2020 New York State survey of public school parents highlights need among high school students