Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On average, 9 out of 10 black and Latino students graduate without a Regents diploma

Art McFarland:

Students at the Eagle Academy in the Bronx, an all boys public high school, say they all want regents diplomas.

A diploma endorsed by New York State Regents requires a score of at least 65 on a series of Regents exams.

Statistics show that black and Hispanic students have very little chance of earning a regents diploma. The problem was discussed at a hearing today of the city council's education committee.

Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz called the problem a civil rights issue.

Regents diplomas for the class of 2004 show African Americans got the diplomas at a rate of 9.4 percent, Latinos at 9.8 percent, while 36 percent of white students got regents', as did 37.5 percent of Asian students.

Some students say Regents diplomas make it easier to get into college.

Department of Education officials testified their reforms are chipping away at the so-called achievement gap for Regents diplomas.

Michele Cahill of the Department of Education, says they are working hard to change the numbers of Regents for minorities.

Everyone agrees that improving the numbers will take much more work.

Eagle Academy Principal, David Banks, says adults need to be more involved in planning and executing successful strategies.

The Department of Education points out the curriculum requirements for a so-called "local" diploma are the same as those for the Regents diploma.

But test scores for the "local" can be 10 points lower.

All state standards are expected to be raised over the next three years, so getting any diploma will become more difficult.

Critics: School System Failing Blacks, Latinos

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