Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg delivered his State of the City speech. We are heartened that some of the new policy proposals outlined in the mayor's speech—from expanding the number of Career and Technical Education (CTE) schools to creating permanent rehearsal and studio spaces for the arts—were greatly influenced by our reports.
Late last year, we published Mobility Makers, a report which concluded that New York City community colleges have become perhaps the most important platform for moving low-income people into the middle class in today's knowledge economy, but also revealed that the majority of students who enroll in the city's community colleges drop out before graduating. One of the reasons for the high drop-out rate was that so many of the students who enter New York's community colleges simply aren't prepared for college-level work. Indeed, we showed that of the students who arrive at a CUNY community college from a public high school, four out of five must take at least one remedial class.
In his State of the City speech yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg talked about the growing importance of higher education in today's economy. "For my generation, a high school diploma was often enough to get a good job and enter the middle class," the mayor noted. "Today, graduating from high school without the grades to go to college, or the skills to enter a trade, generally means, at best, a low-wage job with limited prospects."
Mayor Bloomberg also focused attention on an innovative model that we highlighted in our Mobility Makers study: P-Tech, a new six-year high school that opened this past fall in partnership with IBM where students graduate with a Regents degree and an associate's degree. Our study noted that this is one promising model for increasing the number of New Yorkers who graduate with an associate's degree. Yesterday, the mayor said that the city would open three new schools based on this model.