City and state education officials are working to narrow the wide discrepancy between the city's calculation of its graduation rate and the much lower numbers reported by the state, education officials say.
The city, which calculated that 58% of its students graduated in 2005, has been criticized in the past for including certain categories of students that inflate its rate. Unlike the state, the city counts students as graduates if they receive a GED or graduate later than June, and it excludes special education students from its calculations.
The state estimated that only 43% of students in the city graduated in 2005.
Mayor Bloomberg has been touting the rise in the graduation rate — eight percentage points since 2002, by the city's count — during the past several weeks as he promotes his plan to reorganize the city schools. But city officials said they hoped to come to an agreement with the state soon on a new definition for graduates to align the two calculations more closely, which could lead to a drop in the city calculated rate.
"We're working on an agreement and we would hope to reach an agreement," a Department of Education spokesman, David Cantor, said. "But there isn't one yet."
Speaking in front of the chancellor's Parent Advisory Board yesterday, a member of the state Board of Regents, Merryl Tisch, said officials were "finalizing the components so that the state and city will have the exact definition of a graduate."
A spokesman for the state Education Department, Jonathan Burman, said the state would not "negotiate the definition for the graduation rate." He said the state does plan to begin including students who graduate in August and June in one report, however, something the city has pushed for. Currently, August graduates are reported the following year along with the students who graduate after five years.