Florida isn't the only state padding its graduation rates
With Florida's latest graduation rates coming out soon, this new report from the Center on Education Policy should make you wonder how many grains of salt to take with any state's grad rates, let alone Florida's.
As the St. Petersburg Times reported last year, a growing number of Florida students (more than 6,000 last year) are receiving standard diplomas despite failing the FCAT exit exam. The reason: An exemption that results in a diploma if the student gets a high enough "concordant" score on the SAT or ACT.
But Florida is hardly alone -19 of 26 states with exit exams also offer exemptions, the CEP report notes. And two of them, Indiana and New Jersey, have higher percentages of students taking advantage of them than Florida does.
New Jersey basks in the glow of having one of the nation's highest graduation rates. But 11.5 percent of its students earned diplomas through an exemption in 2008. By comparison, Florida had a 4.5 percent exemption rate that year, according to CEP.