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Top BK high schools slip up - State finds declining graduation rates at Brooklyn Tech, Murrow, others

Move over, Brooklyn Tech.

Fort Greene’s other high school, Benjamin Banneker Academy, appears to have joined the ranks of elite academic public high schools in the borough.

According to the 2006-07 four-year June graduation rates released recently by the state, Brooklyn Tech and Banneker each graduated 89 percent of their students.

However, Brooklyn Tech’s graduation rate actually fell five percent from the 94 percent graduation rate for the 2005-06 school year.

Banneker’s graduation rate increased two percent from 87 percent for the 2005-06 school year.

Tech, though, is a much larger school having had a four-year graduating class of 922 students while Banneker’s four-year graduating percentage is based on 206 students.

Meanwhile, two of the borough’s brightest academic public high schools, the Flatbush-based Midwood and Midwood-based Edward R. Murrow high schools, have lost some luster.

Both schools, like Brooklyn Tech, accept students borough wide, and acceptance to them is highly competitive based on rigorous academic standards.

The 2006-07 four-year graduation rate for Midwood High School was 77 percent for 951 students compared to 82 percent for 754 students the year before. In between years, the school added some classroom space.

The 2006-07 four-year graduation rate at Murrow was 64 percent for 928 students as compared to 69 percent for 871 students for the 2005-06 school year.

The Department of Education’s break-up of John Jay High School on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope several years ago into three smaller high schools – the Secondary Schools for Law, Journalism and Research - is showing the experiment is paying off.

The 2006-07 four-year June Graduation rate for the Secondary School for Law was 55 percent, up from 44 percent in 2005-06; the Secondary School for Journalism was 51 percent, down one percent from 52 percent in 2005-06; and the Secondary School for Research was 63 percent, up a whopping 19 percent from the year before.

Also showing a vast improvement in graduation rates from the year before was George Westinghouse High School in Downtown Brooklyn.

The 2006-07 four-year June graduation rate was 64 percent, up 8 percentage points from 56 percent in 2005-06.

The Williamsburg-based Harry Van Arsdale High School graduation rate stayed roughly the same with a 46 percent four-year June graduation rate for 2006-7 as compared to a 47 percent rate in 2005-06.

The Cobble Hill School for American Studies saw 41 percent of students who started the school four years earlier graduate in 2006-07, down 8 percent from the 49 percent in 2005-06.

The four-year graduation rate citywide among black and Hispanic students increased faster than that of their white and Asian peers.

Overall, 47.2 percent of black students in 2007 graduated in four years, compared to 43.5 percent in 2006 and 40.2 percent in 2005.

This seven-point increase over two years compares to a 4.7 increase among white students and a 4.5 increase among Asian students during the same period.

Overall, 43 percent of Hispanic students in 2007 graduated in four years, compared to 41 percent in 2006 and 37.4 percent in 2005.

Citywide, the four-year graduation rate rose to 52.2 percent in 2007 from 49.8 percent in 2006 and 46.5 percent in 2005.

At the same time, the dropout rate fell to 14.7 percent in 2007, down from 15 percent in 2006 and 18 percent in 2005.

The five-year graduation rate rose to 59.5 percent in 2007 from 55.7 percent in 2006.

“The graduation rate is a crucial indicator of whether our school system is fulfilling its core mission – giving our children the skills they need to become successful adults,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“After a decade of near-stagnation, New York City’s graduation rate has climbed significantly since 2002. We clearly need to help larger numbers of students to graduate, but the progress we’ve made so far means that thousands more students are graduating today than would have six years ago.”

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