Press Release
August 26, 2014

Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett Announce CPS Students Reach Record High Graduation Rate in School Year 2013-2014

69.4 Percent of CPS Students Graduated Last School Year, an All-Time High for the District
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Bryd-Bennett announced today that CPS students in School Year 2013-2014 (SY 13-14) set a record graduation rate of 69.4 percent. The graduation rate this past year marks an all-time high for the district, which graduated 65.4 percent of students in SY 12-13.

“The record graduation rate announced today is the product of teachers, administrators and families, who have shown a firm and unyielding commitment to the children of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We have more work to do, and we will continue to invest in our next generation to ensure they have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success in college, career and life.”

The SY 13-14 graduation rate continues a consistent upward trend and represents the largest two-year increase in district history. Two years ago, 61.2 percent of CPS students graduated, and three years ago, 58 percent of CPS students graduated.

The graduation rate announced today measures the percentage of students who entered ninth grade in fall 2009 and graduated by the spring and summer of 2014.

“Across the district, we continue to see progress that suggests the serious commitment we are making to students is paying off,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We will not be satisfied until all of our students are graduating, but by working to make sure all freshman are on track to graduate, we continue to drive student success in an encouraging upward direction.”

Earlier this year, the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (U Chicago CCSR) announced that 82 percent of last year’s high school freshmen are on track to graduate, an increase of 25 percent from 2007. This increase is largely attributable to CPS’s targeted strategy to reduce course failure in the ninth grade, which UChicago CCSR research suggests is a critical for student success.

In addition to setting a record high graduation rate this year, CPS students also achieved an all-time high ACT scores and an increase in attendance rates. In 2013, the average composite ACT score for CPS students was 18, outpacing the state in growth in both reading and math scores. The district’s attendance rates from kindergarten through 12th grade also rose, reaching 93.2 percent, an increase of 0.7 percent from SY 12-13.

Last year, 57.2 percent of CPS graduates enrolled into college, which was an increase of 1.2 percent from 2012.

From expanding early childhood education to providing a full school day and full school year, Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett are committed to ensuring that students graduate from all of Chicago's high schools prepared for college. Since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011, the City has established a full school day and full school year. The City has also established a full day of kindergarten for every student in Chicago and is currently looking to increase access to 4-year old pre-k programs for children who qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program.
Chicago Public Schools serves 400,000 students in 665 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.