Florida's graduation rates: pathetic, padded, progressing
This year's Diplomas Count report from Education Week offers more evidence that Florida's high school graduation can be bad and inflated and actually moving in the right direction all at once.
Released this morning, the report finds that Florida's graduation rate in 2008 was 63.9 percent putting it at No. 44 nationally. That's lower than the national rate of 71.7 percent (which makes it pathetic), and far lower than the state reported rate that year of 73.1 percent (which lends credence to the fact that the state rate is padded by practices like removing adult education transfers from the cohorts.)
But just like it did last year, Ed Week also found that Florida's graduation rate is one of the fastest-rising in the country. It moved up 12.4 percentage points between 1998 and 2008, more than twice the national increase of 6.1 percentage points. Only Tennessee, North Carolina and New York had bigger gains over that period.
Nationally, the grad rate rose nearly three percentage points in 2008, up from 68.8 percent in 2007. That was a big jump after years of decline and stagnation.
Ed Week uses its own formula and federal data to calculate grad rates.
Its report also looked at the grad rates for the 50 biggest school districts. Pinellas came in at No. 18, with a 67.3 percent rate, and it had the second-highest rate among the 10 Florida districts on the list. Lee was highest among the Florida districts, at 68.7 percent. Hillsborough came in at 63.8 percent.