Rochester, N.Y. – Its problem that hasn’t changed for the five largest urban school districts across the state. It’s also a problem that the Rochester City School District has yet to solve. 43.4% of the students entering the Rochester City School as freshman in 2008 graduated last year. The number is down from a year ago and below the urban-suburban school district average.

“Graduation rates for our students who entered high school in 2008 are painfully unacceptable,” says Rochester City School Superintendent Bolgen Vargas. "The fact that the district has predicted a decline this year because lf more stringent Regents requirements and more accurate data, in no comfort to the majority of Rochester families whose children are failing to graduate."

The 9th graders in 2008 were the first group of students that had to gain either a Regents or Advanced Regents diploma. Previously students had been allowed to be granted a local diploma which had lower achievement standards.

Additionally these students were the first students exposed to the more rigorous Common Core Curriculum. “Our students are bright and we need to have higher expectations. However we simply can’t just do that, we as a community need to provide the supports they need.”

The Superintendent is calling on parents and friends of education to help provide those support as graduation rates are expected to remain low. Vargas says “The graduation rate will increase when we better our elementary and middle schools.” Vargas says that is will still take some years to see the results of those efforts.