Graduation rate for CPS students highest ever

Tuesday is the first day of school for 380-thousand students in Chicago.

On Monday, the mayor, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and other education officials all took time to say to the world - do not count Chicago students out.

Standing next to Claypool, a cadre of students and other education officials, Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted a new statistic.

After enduring high school graduation rates of just under 57 percent as recently as 2011, more CPS students are reaching that milestone than ever before.

“Our kids, now, are on their way to a better future with more kids not only graduating, but going on to college and community college,” Emanuel said.

“This marks the future of Chicago Public Schools. We continue to post impressive gains, but we also continue to set higher and higher expectations,” said Janice Jackson, CPS Chief Education Officer.

By the district's numbers, a little more than 77 percent of students graduated last school year. That’s up from the previous year when 73.5 percent of students graduated.

Black males drove the growth with 62.8 percent graduating, up from 57.4 percent the year before.

With the national graduation rate at 83 percent, the mayor says Chicago isn't far behind.

“In a just few years, 3 years’ time, the city of Chicago will pass the United States of America in graduating high school students,” Emanuel said.

According to the mayor's office, 88 percent of high school freshman in the city are projected to graduate.