Education is key to preparing children for success as adults and for ensuring the economic and civic vitality of our region. In this section, we examine measures of school readiness academic achievement and school environment.

Like most of life, children’s education was dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with many students in our area learning on a fully or partially remote basis in the 2020-21 school year. As a result, most students did not take state tests and therefore testing data in this section has not been updated (for more information, see the state’s website).

The percentage of children attending pre-kindergarten in our region increased by 2 percentage points since 2011. In 2021, 41% of the 4-year-olds in the region were enrolled in prekindergarten, below the 45% statewide.

Our four-year high school graduation rate was above the statewide rate: 88% of regional students who began high school in 2018 graduated on time, compared to 87% of students statewide. In the City of Rochester, the rate was 71%. Given another year, more students made it through high school. The regional five-year rate for the Class of 2017 was 90% and Rochester’s five-year rate increased to 74%, a three point gain over the four-year rate of 71%.

Disparities are also present in our region’s graduation rates by race/ethnicity, and are larger than at the state level. In our region, 80% of African American and 78% of Hispanic students graduated in four years, in comparison to 91% of white and 93% of Asian students. At the state level, 81% of Hispanic and 82% of African American students graduated in four years, compared to 91% of white and 93% of Asian students.

Pre-pandemic, state testing data showed just 44% of the region’s 3rd graders met reading standards in 2019.

In 2022, 37% of 3rd graders in our region met or exceeded the state standard in English Language Arts, below the state’s 46% and down from 44% in 2019. In Rochester, 11% of students attending traditional public schools passed the exam, below the passing rate for charter school students of 29%. The City of Geneva also had a lower passing rate at 19%. Passing rates were higher on 3rd grade math: 40% in the region, compared to 48% statewide. 

Test scores were lower among low-income and minority children in our region, and outcomes for these groups were lower than at the state level. For example, on the state’s 8th grade English exam, passing rates were substantially higher among white (48%) and Asian students (55%) than among Hispanic and African American students (at 20% and 17% respectively) in 2019. Similarly, only 22% of the region’s low-income students passed the 8th grade English exam, in comparison to 39% of students overall. Educational research has established that family income and mother's level of education are two of the strongest factors associated with student performance. However, in 2019, performance for minority and low-income students was higher at the state level than it was in our region.

On the high school Regents exams required for graduation, students in the region outperformed the state by 2 points on math and were 1 point below on English in 2019. About 73% of students in our region passed the Common Core Regents math exam in 2019, and 83% passed the Common Core Regents English.

Spending per student by school districts in our region increased 51% since 2000, even after adjusting for inflation. In 2020, our school districts spent over $23,600 per student, below the state rate of $27,600.

Of the adults in the region, 64% have attended at least some college, above state and national levels. While 35% of the region’s adults have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, 9% have not obtained a high school degree. This compares to 13% of adults statewide and 11% nationwide without a high school degree.

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*No or multiple regional values for this indicator

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