CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago Public Schools reported a record-high graduation rate for its high school students last year.
But, the news is tempered by an acknowledgement by the district that when it comes to math and English proficiency, there still is a lot more work to do.
Chicago high school seniors set a high bar in 2023 that CPS leadership would love to see the current class surpass next year. The graduation rate hit an all-time high of 84%.
“One of the most exciting things about this progress is that we feel that, we’re confident that we can sustain it,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez.
CPS also touted another record, more than $2 billion in total college scholarships, in its Tuesday announcement.
And, nearly half of last year’s seniors earned early college credits. That’s up 5% from the year before.
“I really thought my biology and history courses were hard, but because of this, it helped me develop strategies that I’m now currently using in college,” said Currie High School 2023 graduate Orali Nicasio.
The mayor called Tuesday a good day for public education.
“The data points that are being shared today are certainly encouraging, and certainly speaks to the hope of the possibility and the stability that the district is now experiencing,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson.
“This is not a finish line. We have a long way to go. This is just a strong foundation,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova.
But, the good news comes in the shadows of a state report card that shows CPS students still trailing state averages in math and English grade-level proficiency.
In math, only 17.5% of CPS students were meeting or exceeding performance standards, compared to 23.5% statewide.
In English, 25.9% of CPS students met or exceeded the standards, compared to 35.4% across the state.
“We saw 87% of our schools make gains in reading, and 73%, gains in math. We’ve said this everybody, we’re not where we need to be, but, the direction, the momentum we’re building is very strong,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the key now is to keep building on the momentum shown in the report card, and he encouraged parents to partner with the district to help make it happen.