Florida sees strong growth in graduation rates, report says
Florida has seen a 23 percentage point increase in its graduation rate over a decade (2000-2010), second only to Tennessee, Education Week reports in its latest Diplomas Count publication. Florida's rate of 72.9 percent put it just slightly below the national average of 74.7 percent, and 34th overall.
Florida's graduation rate for Hispanic students of 77.1 percent, meanwhile, topping all states for a second straight year and exceeding the national rate by nine points.
“Florida has long been on the forefront of national education reform and we are seeing very positive results of that commitment,” Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett said in a news release. “We will maintain our dedication and focus to continue reducing the achievement gap among Florida’s students.”
The FLDOE noted that the state's 10 largest districts were among those evaluated for their progress in increasing the graduation index. Of those, nine including Hillsborough outperformed expectations, while Pinellas met expectations.
“This by no means indicates that our work is finished,” Bennett said . “But it is a clear sign that by working together with a clear focus, we can all help ensure that every student has a chance to succeed in college, in a career and in life.”
Diplomas Count pointed out that there is work to be done, particularly in the area of dropouts.
"Far too many young people are still failing to complete a meaningful high school education, and most of these nongraduates come from educationally and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and communities," the report states.
It includes four Florida school districts -- Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Hillsborough -- among 25 dropout "epicenters" that will collectively contribute 18 percent of all dropouts in 2013.