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Mayor Bloomberg Raises Funds To Reinstate Regents Exam

ALBANY, NY (CBSNewYork/AP) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has raised $1.5 million from private donors to resume January Regents exam testing statewide.

The tests that allow as many as 5,000 New York City students to graduate in January were canceled this year because of the state budget deficit.

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Statewide, the tests give students a chance to graduate early or to re-take Regents exams they failed or did poorly on. In either case, the January exams can be important for students planning to go to college.

Bloomberg said 80 percent of the students hurt by the decision were black or Hispanic and some were returning to school after dropping out.

"For thousands of our students, taking the Regents Exams in January will mean the difference between graduating and not graduating," said Bloomberg. "I knew we had to do something, or we would be letting our kids down."

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Bloomberg said that rather than complaining, the city opted to take action and fix the problem.

"Thousands of high-school students rely on the January Regents Exams to graduate on time and move on to college and careers," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. "These generous donations give these students the opportunity for an uninterrupted transition to a successful future."

Walcott said the city is working with the state legislature and Education Department, which creates and administers the exams, to find a long-term solution.

Six private donors each gave $250,000 to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and the Fund for Public Schools.

In June, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the four-year graduation rate for New York City public schools rose to a new all-time high of 65.1 percent in 2010, according to the State Education Department.

Are you glad the January Regents exam is coming back in 2012? Let us know below...

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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