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Just 43 percent of Rochester students who entered school in 2009 graduated by June 2013, according to data released Monday by the New York State Education Department, once again marking the lowest rate among the state's big cities and a slight drop from the previous year's rate.
When including students who graduated after summer school, the number increases to 48.1 percent. By comparison, the statewide rate for June graduation was 74.9 percent. In Buffalo it was 53.4 percent and in Syracuse it was 48.8 percent.
For Monroe County as a whole, the graduation rate was 77.1 percent by June and 79.8 percent by August.
The state also calculates an "Aspirational Performance Measure to determine how many students are ready for college or a career. Those students graduated with at least a 75 on their English Language Arts Regents exam and an 80 on their math Regents exam.
In Rochester, 5.1 percent of students met that mark, the worst among the state's big cities and down from 5.8 percent last year. Statewide, the percentage was 37.2 percent, up from 35.3 percent last year.
Only 4 percent of the 2009 cohort of students earned a local diploma as that option is being phased out. Those students were also among the first to be exposed to Common Core standards, implementation and testing.
"Raising standards and moving away from the local diploma was the right thing to do," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said in a statement. �Thousands of our teachers and students rose to the challenge, and now in classrooms all across the state, they're rising to meet the new challenges set by the Common Core Standards. The full impact of the reforms will take time, but we're moving forward."
State Education Commissioner John King noted the persistence of an achievement gap across racial and economic lines -- nearly five times more white students than black students earned advanced Regents diplomas, and the graduation rate for "low-needs� students was 94.1 percent, compared to 56.6 percent in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo and Yonkers combined.
Charter schools graduated 70.1 percent of their students who enrolled in 2009, part of a steady incline since the 47.2 graduation rate of those who enrolled in 2005. In that time, the number of charter school students has risen sharply.