MONTROSE, N.Y. – Hendrick Hudson High School Principal James Mackin released his school’s annual “report card” during last week’s Hendrick Hudson School District meeting. The report, which Mackin implemented when he arrived at Hendrick Hudson High School nearly a decade ago, shows an above average graduation rate for New York State, but that special education students in the district continue to struggle.
“With this data, we’re able to set some goals,” said Mackin, while acknowledging, “We have some work to do with students with disabilities.”
“The goal was never to punish schools,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alice Gottlieb about regents exams, “but to catch kids early that were falling behind.” According to Gottlieb, about 1,400 schools in New York were labeled “in need of improvement,” like one of the district’s elementary schools, Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary.
Special education students continue to struggle in the high school, in many cases their scores were isolated from general education students in the report card. Special education students failed regents at a rate of more than one in two in some cases.
Global Regents, for example, have a 14 percent failing rate in the total high school population. But when special education students are taken out of the equation, only three percent of general education students failed the test.
Special education students, on the other hand, failed the test at a rate of 52 percent, or 21 out of 40 students. Approximately the same failing rate among special education students, about 50 percent, was also found in chemistry regents.
According to “Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2008,” which was issued in December 2010 by the National Center for Education Statistics, a federal agency, New York’s average high school completion rate in 2008 was 70.8 percent. That puts Hendrick Hudson High School well above the average for the state, at 93 percent in the high school in 2011. Data from 2008 represents the most recent data available.
Graduation rates, in general, are highly debated among educators, because GED (General Education Diplomas) are counted as drop outs, which many contend devalues the work of many students’ achievements, as Mackin and other school officials explained.
“We are improving our graduation rate slowly, but surely,” said school board member, Charles Thompson. Read more about national graduation statistics here.