This brings up the "credit recovery program" and how it affects the high school graduation rate.
The "credit recovery program" allows seniors (mostly) to get credit for courses that they never bothered to show up to or did no work in so that they can graduate. The "credit recovery system" is an uneven program that ranges from a student just doing three essays, to online instruction, to intensive winter or spring break classes. The New York Times describes some of these "credit recovery programs" Here.
It appears nobody has a handle on how much the "credit recovery system" affects the high school graduation rate. Not the State of New York, not Joel Klein's DOE, and not Randi Weingarten's UFT. Is it 1% or 10%? Who knows? However, with principals feeling more and more pressure to improve their school's graduation rate, be it to keep their jobs or to increase their bonus, does lead one to wonder how abusive is this practice. How many students are getting a free ride to graduation without doing the proper course work? Furthermore, are we talking about one class or many classes? Are we speaking about a good student that needs some help or the lazy and misbehaving student that the school administrators want to push out? Again, no real answers. It appears each school can set up their own "credit recovery program" with little or no supervision about it's content. Granted, these seniors still must achieve a "55" on their Regents exams to obtain a local diploma (no the "55" is not a typo, that is the score it takes to get a local diploma). However, is it really right for these students who chose not to attend class or do no work to get this break? According to the DOE yes. If it helps the DOE's graduation rate, they are all for it. In Tweed the ends justify the means.
By the way Andrew Wolf had a very interesting editorial in the New York Sun about why student scores are flat. Here