Florida’s graduation rate increased by five percentage points between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, according to new U.S. Department of Education graduation rate data released today. But despite the improving rate, just six states and the District of Columbia have a lower graduation rate than Florida —the same number as last year.
The bright spots? Florida’s graduation rates for Hispanic students and English language learners are near the national average. Just eight states have a lower dropout rate than Florida, at 2.1 percent. The national dropout rate is 3.3 percent.
Florida’s graduation rates in many categories are comparable to another large, diverse state, California, but trail Texas.
Supporters of Florida’s education policies argue the state sets more difficult graduation requirements than other states. Students who started 9th grade this year can now choose from three high school diploma tracks, after lawmakers changed the requirements last year.
The national graduation rate hit an all-time high of 80 percent, and at the current rate of improvement would top 90 percent by 2020. Iowa’s graduation rate of 89 percent led the nation.
The chart above is based on four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, a new, more standardized measure which allow for better state-to-state comparisons. Idaho, Kentucky and Oklahoma are not included in the graduation rate data.