Report: Philly Public School Graduation Rates Rising

Nearly two-thirds of ninth-graders are graduating on time. But there's a caveat.
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Source: Project U-Turn

Nearly two thirds of ninth-graders entering Philadelphia public high schools in the 2008-2009 school year graduated on time, a new study says — the greatest percentage of graduates in more than a decade of close study.

The report from Project U-Turn shows that 64 percent of 2008’s ninth-graders graduated from high school within four years — up from a low of 43 percent of 2000-01’s ninth-graders.

“This report shows that Philadelphia public schools are graduating considerably more students than in the past,” the study’s authors concluded. “More can be done, however, to ensure that those being left behind receive the support needed before they drop out.”

And they warned: “While the evidence reveals some important gains in high school graduation among (School District of Philadelphia) students, the data were evaluated only through the end of the 2011–2012 school year. Since then, significant cuts in public education funding for SDP resulted in highly publicized staff reductions in neighborhood schools. … With the funding reductions in recent years, it will be important to monitor early warning indicators (for example, early math and reading proficiency, and school absenteeism), and indicators at the high school level for evidence to discern whether the trends reported in this study are now at risk.”

Other findings in the report:

• The dropout rate in Philly public schools decreased, from a high of 31 percent for 2006-07’s ninth-graders to 25 percent of the 2008-09 group.

• Graduation rates rose for both male and female students, and for all of the major ethnic groups — Asian, White, Black, and Hispanic — tracked by the study.

• But enrollment in two- and four-year colleges after high school stagnated, increasing from 36 percent of 2002-03’s ninth-graders to 38 percent for the 2008-09 cohort.

The full report is below: