A recent study found that immigrant students have slightly higher high school graduation rates than American students.
The report, which was conducted by a non-partisan group called Independent Budget Office that monitors the New York City budget and school system, surveyed 72,500 students in the class of 2009. This number does not include discharged students, which IBO defines as students who left the school system without graduating or dropping out. About 20,000 of these students were born outside of the United States.
According to the study, about 67 percent of immigrant students graduated from New York City high schools in four years, compared to 61 percent of students born in the United States. Those from Europe, Asia and Africa averaged a rate close to 80 percent, significantly outperforming the 47 percent average among their classmates of Mexican and Central American descent.
The study also shows that almost one out of four students in the latter group drop out prior to graduating, compared to less than a 10 percent dropout rate in the former group. The corresponding number for American-born students was about 12 percent.
“It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on regarding the variation in graduation rates,” said Raymond Domanico, director of Education Research and leader of the study. “There are many things the report doesn’t tell us, such as if students come from urban or rural areas and the type of education they were exposed to early on in their lives.”
Chinese-born Steinhardt freshman Ming Yang came to the United States as an infant and believes the reason behind the differences is that foreigners embrace the idea of the American dream more than Americans do themselves.
“I think we just have more parental motivation,” Yang said. “Their children’s academic success is usually a huge reason for parents to emigrate in the first place, so they are going to make sure that the investment will pay off.”
Pedro Noguera, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and Steinhardt Education professor, said the strongest predictor for how a student will do in school is family income and education level.
“It tends to be that immigrant families who come from Europe, Asia and Africa have a stronger educational background,” Noguera said. “An educated parent is able to help [his or her] child more than a less educated parent.”
The New York Department of Education reported steadily rising graduation rates since 2001 — from 46.5 percent to well above 65 percent today — which Noguera credits the city’s political administration. But overall, he said the Department of Education must look into the concentration of disadvantaged kids in certain schools.
“Once you start disintegrating the student bodies, you will see that certain groups are way, way behind in matters of pre-high school educational level,” Noguera said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 12 print edition. Anders Melin is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Weekend Roam: Little Germany
- WSN Editorial Board reflects on spring semester events
- Strawberry Festival promises delicious, intergalactic fun
- Clive Davis Institute collaborates with DJ Swivel
- Best places to dine on dumplings
- 'Heroes' is not super enough for Xbox Live film program launch
- NYU SLAM sees victory through 'badidas' campaign
- Victoria Ettore elected student council president
- Hester Street Fair hosts diverse vendors, delicious food