CHICAGO — In a tumultuous school year that saw teachers strike and Chicago Public Schools come under fire for shuttering 50 schools, CPS says it has something positive to report: a record-high graduation rate.
The school system expects 63 percent of high school seniors to graduate this year, up from 61 percent in 2012 and 59 percent in the 2010-2011 school year.
A decade ago, the graduation rate was 44 percent, according to CPS.
(In its most recent tally, the federal government said in January the national average was 78 percent for the Class of 2010, though big cities tend to score lower.)
Schools Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett officially announced the graduation rate at a news conference Tuesday morning.
In a statement, Byrd-Bennett cited a longer school day and what she called a more "rigorous curriculum" among the reasons for the improved graduation rate.
“This graduation rate is a testament to our hardworking students, educators and administrators, but we know there is more to do," Byrd-Bennett said.
The graduation rate is good news for Bennett, who has been under intense scrutiny, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, for the CPS decision to shutter 49 elementary schools and one high school about a week ago.
Bennett took over for CEO Jean Claude Brizard in October, who left after the first CPS teachers strike in 25 years.
CPS also expects to announce that attendance rates for this year were 92.9 percent, up 0.4 percent from last year.
As the nation's third-largest school system, CPS has about 403,000 students.