Well here's some good news amidst a week of sex scandals and protests: city high school graduation rates have gone up in the past year. In a statement released yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the rate for the city climbed to 63% in 2009, up three percentage points from the year before. The drop-out rate has also been halved since 2005. Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein said "it’s encouraging that increasing numbers of our students are reaching this significant milestone."

However, the rising rates come with their fair share of controversy. The Daily News reports that the graduation gap between black and Latino students and white students remains large, at 20 and 22 points respectively. And while 63% have earned a high school diploma, only 44.6% earned a Regents diploma, which will be required of all students by 2012. These rates are also far from uniform. The Post reports that while State Island Technical HS had a 100% graduation rate, Adlai Stevenson HS in The Bronx only had 33.1% of seniors graduate last year.

Finally, it can't be denied that a High School diploma doesn't get one very far these days, and these numbers say nothing of postsecondary school acceptance rates. The press release mentions college only once, saying the DOE is "providing all eleventh-grade students in the City with a free online SAT preparation." Aaron Pallas, an education professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, told the Daily News, "It will take some time to see whether the better rates are reflected in better performance in the postsecondary system."