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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida graduation rate remains below national average



The nation's high school graduation rate continued its slow, incremental rise in 2013-14, a new U.S. Department of Education report shows.

And as has proven true historically, Florida's graduation rate remained below the national level and among the bottom 10 states.

Even as rates rise, though, concerns remain.

A spokesman for Achieve, a group that promotes the Common Core and focuses on graduation issues, noted pointedly on Twitter that graduation rates do not translate into college readiness, where indicators are not improving. Others have pointed out that the numbers are not on track for targets of 90 percent grad rates by 2020. 

Still, the stats won praise from outgoing U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, whose policies recently got rebuked by the Congress in its ESEA rewrite.

"America's students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year," Duncan said in a news release. "The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college, getting a good job, owning their own home, and supporting a family. We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we're seeing promising gains, including for students of color."

The latest report shows 82.3 percent of students graduated in four years, up from 81.4 percent for the previous cohort. Among all groups, Asian students had the highest rate (89.4 percent), with white students 2 points behind (87.2) and Hispanic (76.3) and black (72.5) students trailing.

Florida trailed the national rates in every category. Its overall rate was 76.1 percent, behind all but seven states and the District of Columbia. That was up slightly from 75.6 percent a year earlier, when it outperformed eight states and D.C.

The states now are to use the same formula to determine their graduation rates. A few years ago, they used different data, making harder to compare the outcomes.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 1:57pm]


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