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PRESS RELEASE

October 31, 2003

ALIA FARAJ
(850) 488-5394

Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush and Commissioner Horne Announce Increase in Graduation Rates
More students earn diplomas while meeting higher standards, Hispanic students lead decrease in number of dropouts

TALLAHASSEE — Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner Jim Horne today announced yet another increase in Florida's high school graduation rate. The graduation rate rose from 67.9 percent last year to 69 percent this year. The increase continues a four-year trend, with a jump from 60.2 percent in 1998-99. Meanwhile, the dropout rate also decreased for the fourth straight year from 3.2 percent last year to 3 percent this year.

"Thanks to the efforts of students, teachers, parents, and principals, we have kept more students in high school through graduation, while ensuring that a Florida diploma signifies real academic achievement and solid preparation for higher education," said Governor Bush. "We also continue to close the achievement gap, with minority students leading the decline in high school dropouts."

In 1998-99 the dropout rate was 5.4 percent. The most dramatic decline in dropouts has been among Hispanic students - from 8.3 percent in 1998-99 to 3.5 percent this year. The decrease in the number of dropouts has also been significant among African American students. The dropout rate among African Americans saw a 2.8 percentage point drop versus a 2.4 percent drop among the general population.

"Not only are more students staying in school, they are entering higher education and the workforce better prepared to meet the challenges ahead," said Horne. "We will continue to work hard to arm our students with the skills and support they need to achieve success."

This year's increase in the graduation rate occurred even as Florida implemented higher standards for graduation. In 2002-03, students had to demonstrate proficiency in math and reading through the 10th grade Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) or an equivalent. By contrast, in prior years, students had to pass the High School Competency Test (HSCT), an eighth grade level assessment.

In its definition of "graduate," Florida includes all students who receive standard diplomas, special diplomas (for certain students with disabilities), high school exit-option GED (General Educational Development) diplomas, adult standard diplomas, and adult GED diplomas. Certificate recipients are not counted as graduates. All students in the calculation for 2002-03 must have entered ninth grade for the first time in fall 1999.

"Unlike other states and certain national studies, our graduation rate is an actual count of students who received a diploma," said Horne. "We do not use statistical sampling."

The results for Florida's statewide four-year graduation rate are as follows:

chart

The results for Florida's statewide dropout rate by ethnicity are as follows:

chart

Attached is a list of graduation rates from 1998-99 through 2002-03 by school district.

Graduation Rates of Florida School Districts, 1998-99 to 2002-03

 

1998-99

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

Change since 1998-99

Change since 2001-02

ALACHUA

63.3%

63.7%

61.2%

66.4%

67.5%

4.2%

1.1%

BAKER

55.7%

54.3%

55.1%

60.8%

67.3%

11.6%

6.5%

BAY

55.9%

65.9%

68.3%

70.3%

76.6%

20.7%

6.3%

BRADFORD

60.4%

67.4%

70.8%

75.2%

74.7%

14.3%

-0.5%

BREVARD

64.0%

80.4%

86.8%

88.5%

88.4%

24.4%

-0.1%

BROWARD

53.5%

63.9%

62.3%

65.2%

62.7%

9.3%

-2.5%

CALHOUN

83.5%

90.4%

86.8%

86.8%

87.8%

4.3%

1.0%

CHARLOTTE

68.4%

71.7%

74.7%

75.8%

68.0%

-0.4%

-7.8%

CITRUS

70.8%

72.3%

73.6%

71.2%

75.3%

4.5%

4.2%

CLAY

65.3%

65.9%

67.3%

70.9%

75.4%

10.1%

4.5%

COLLIER

63.0%

63.3%

64.5%

68.2%

67.6%

4.6%

-0.5%

COLUMBIA

63.6%

61.8%

59.5%

68.1%

73.1%

9.5%

5.1%

DADE

53.2%

52.2%

53.9%

55.7%

57.9%

4.7%

2.2%

DESOTO

62.7%

67.5%

64.8%

69.7%

66.2%

3.5%

-3.5%

DIXIE

60.5%

71.2%

73.8%

75.1%

63.8%

3.3%

-11.3%

DUVAL

58.7%

57.4%

55.9%

61.0%

63.7%

5.1%

2.7%

ESCAMBIA

62.6%

65.2%

65.2%

69.9%

64.9%

2.3%

-5.0%

FLAGLER

63.5%

64.4%

67.4%

72.2%

81.3%

17.8%

9.1%

FRANKLIN

71.2%

63.2%

65.8%

57.9%

72.8%

1.6%

14.9%

GADSDEN

46.0%

50.7%

51.0%

52.4%

48.1%

2.1%

-4.3%

GILCHRIST

64.1%

55.4%

66.5%

69.6%

76.8%

12.7%

7.2%

GLADES

66.7%

51.0%

54.8%

54.7%

59.4%

-7.3%

4.8%

GULF

80.0%

83.0%

81.5%

83.8%

87.8%

7.8%

4.0%

HAMILTON

54.3%

70.4%

59.5%

67.9%

61.5%

7.2%

-6.4%

HARDEE

65.0%

65.5%

57.6%

67.6%

62.0%

-3.0%

-5.6%

HENDRY

66.7%

59.8%

50.5%

52.1%

63.9%

-2.8%

11.8%

HERNANDO

68.7%

67.4%

67.8%

74.0%

77.3%

8.6%

3.3%

HIGHLANDS

70.0%

64.7%

68.6%

58.6%

66.9%

-3.1%

8.3%

HILLSBOROUGH

69.5%

71.4%

74.4%

77.5%

75.8%

6.3%

-1.7%

HOLMES

76.6%

73.5%

79.2%

79.8%

85.4%

8.8%

5.6%

INDIAN RIVER

65.2%

64.9%

65.9%

78.9%

76.1%

10.9%

-2.8%

JACKSON

58.1%

49.8%

53.0%

59.6%

76.5%

18.4%

16.9%

JEFFERSON

62.6%

65.3%

78.8%

64.5%

71.8%

9.2%

7.3%

LAFAYETTE

80.6%

65.5%

58.0%

69.0%

79.5%

-1.1%

10.5%

LAKE

65.0%

66.3%

67.5%

68.7%

73.0%

8.0%

4.3%

LEE

69.4%

67.8%

65.9%

66.0%

68.3%

-1.1%

2.3%

LEON

64.7%

67.3%

64.2%

74.3%

75.8%

11.2%

1.5%

LEVY

61.2%

65.9%

55.7%

57.0%

63.5%

2.3%

6.5%

LIBERTY

71.7%

72.7%

82.0%

77.5%

90.7%

19.0%

13.2%

MADISON

67.5%

56.3%

68.4%

63.8%

68.0%

0.5%

4.2%

MANATEE

56.2%

61.4%

65.2%

68.9%

73.8%

17.6%

5.0%

MARION

57.9%

60.3%

65.2%

69.1%

70.6%

12.7%

1.6%

MARTIN

60.6%

83.3%

85.4%

84.4%

85.1%

24.5%

0.7%

MONROE

71.0%

72.0%

68.5%

74.2%

73.9%

2.9%

-0.3%

NASSAU

73.7%

67.9%

55.1%

76.7%

79.5%

5.8%

2.8%

OKALOOSA

77.1%

77.5%

76.8%

83.7%

83.7%

6.6%

0.0%

OKEECHOBEE

62.7%

64.3%

63.6%

67.6%

67.3%

4.6%

-0.3%

ORANGE

51.3%

49.5%

59.8%

68.3%

68.5%

17.2%

0.2%

OSCEOLA

55.7%

58.9%

58.4%

66.1%

66.7%

11.0%

0.6%

PALM BEACH

58.2%

63.6%

64.9%

66.6%

66.0%

7.8%

-0.6%

PASCO

63.5%

64.8%

65.9%

71.7%

74.9%

11.4%

3.2%

PINELLAS

65.3%

64.3%

64.4%

66.4%

69.0%

3.7%

2.6%

POLK

53.3%

55.3%

52.6%

66.9%

65.7%

12.4%

-1.2%

PUTNAM

65.8%

61.2%

62.9%

71.1%

79.5%

13.7%

8.4%

ST. JOHNS

72.0%

74.9%

77.1%

76.1%

78.2%

6.2%

2.1%

ST. LUCIE

63.5%

62.9%

69.6%

77.0%

76.8%

13.4%

-0.2%

SANTA ROSA

75.4%

73.5%

75.4%

85.5%

83.3%

7.9%

-2.2%

SARASOTA

63.0%

63.4%

70.3%

71.8%

76.4%

13.4%

4.6%

SEMINOLE

63.3%

67.0%

70.9%

77.8%

81.4%

18.1%

3.6%

SUMTER

71.4%

74.8%

73.1%

72.1%

79.8%

8.4%

7.7%

SUWANNEE

60.6%

57.7%

60.7%

71.2%

72.3%

11.7%

1.1%

TAYLOR

61.4%

55.1%

58.2%

68.7%

71.2%

9.8%

2.5%

UNION

61.0%

58.8%

63.2%

78.4%

67.1%

6.1%

-11.3%

VOLUSIA

70.1%

74.9%

77.0%

81.5%

80.1%

10.0%

-1.4%

WAKULLA

76.2%

73.7%

72.5%

81.2%

83.6%

7.4%

2.4%

WALTON

68.9%

75.4%

72.1%

69.9%

71.3%

2.4%

1.4%

WASHINGTON

65.9%

69.0%

70.5%

70.1%

66.8%

0.9%

-3.3%

STATE

60.2%

62.3%

63.8%

67.9%

69.0%

8.8%

1.1%