Mayor de Blasio shows off with high graduation rates. But is it really?


On January 16, 2020 NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, together with Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced that “New York City’s 2019 four-year high school graduation rate has reached a record high of 77.3 percent.” The press release further states, that ” For the sixth consecutive year under this administration, graduation rates hit record highs, graduation success is across the board, and the achievement gap continues to narrow,” citing increasing graduation rates for Asian, Black, Hispanic and White students in 2019. The largest improvement in graduation rates is said to occur in the Bronx, with a “borough-wide” record of 70.2%.

The Grade Fraud scale in New York City according to NYC DOE School Quality Snapshot and NYC DOE School Quality Guide

The news brought congratulations from local politicians, including State Senators Alessandra Biaggi and Luis R. Sepulveda, as well as State Assembly Members Michael DenDekker and Al Taylor. Many New York council members applauded the announcement, however, not all. Councilman Robert Holden, representing District 30, said in a press release: “It’s great to see that despite many schools having single digit passing rates on state exams, our graduation rates are rising,” said Council Member Robert Holden. “I’d like to commend Chancellor Carranza for continuing to turn a blind eye on grade fraud, and touting artificial graduation rates, while our children suffer the consequences of failed education policies at the hands of Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Department of Education.”

The grade fraud Councilman is referring to can be explained with a simple example: even though NY statistics show that 93% of the given class graduates, only 2% from the same class passes the state’s exams. The councilman’s office send over data for the worst five grade fraud cases in New York City: The Bronx’s P.S/I.S. 224, in which 93.5 percent of students passed their math classes, but only 2 percent passed the state math exam; the Bronx’s Academy for College Preparation had a math-class-pass rate of 90 percent, but only 4 percent passed the state math test; the Bronx’s East Fordham Academy for the Arts: Class rate – 80.3 percent, test rate – 4 percent; the Bronx’s Academy of Public Relations: Class rate – 97 percent, test rate – 5 percent; Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem: Class rate – 93.9 percent, test rate – 5 percent.

Additionally, councilman’s office is referring to the NAEP test results, which stands for The National Assessment of Educational Progress – a test given to a sample of students in grades 4 and 8 in Math and English. Last year’s results proved, that there is no significant increase in performance of New York City’s students for the last couple of years. In fact, New York’s scores were below average on both – national and state levels. The latests results from 2019 can be found here.

Councilman’s Holden office brought grade fraud to the public attention last year. In 2019, the Maspeth High School scandal brought light to the problem as well. According the an update from Councilman’s Holden office, the investigation into both are ongoing on the city, state and federal level. 

Are the scores in New York City’s schools on the rise? The investigation provide more answers soon.

Below is the excerpt from the NYC Department of Education for School year 2017-2018 on the example of PS 224 in the Bronx.


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