Education

State high school graduation rate outpaces nation

Four-year high school graduation rates climbed to 76 percent in 2014, capping a three-year improvement that outpaced the nation.

The state’s graduation rate rose from 71 percent in 2011 to a record 76 percent in 2014, according to Diplomas Court 2015 by Education Week.

“This report is evidence that our hard work is paying off and Florida has made great strides in preparing our state’s students for success in college, career and life. I commend the teachers, principals, and students for their dedication to academic success, and we cannot let up.” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. “We must remain on this positive track. I believe these results underscore the importance of the Florida Legislature making an investment of historic per-pupil funding to ensure we have the resources necessary to remain a national leader in education.”

At the same time, the on-time graduation rates in the nation’s public high schools reached historic highs, with 81 percent of seniors in 2013 graduating in four years, the U.S. Department Education reported.

The high school graduation rate is used as an indicator to measure the success of a community’s education system and the quality of its workforce.

Studies show that unemployment rates are significantly lower and lifetime earnings are substantially higher for high school graduates than for those who don’t finish.

Florida’s graduation rates increased to an 11-year high of 76 percent, nearly 17 percentage points higher since 2003-2004, according to data compiled by the Florida Department of Education.

While Escambia County’s graduation rate increased to 66 percent in 2014, more than 8 percentage points higher since 2010-2011, the rate lags behind state and national averages.

In Santa Rosa, the 2014 graduation rate increased nearly 4 percentage points to 82.8 percent, 5 percentage points since 2010-2011.

The graduation rates at high schools in Escambia County:

West Florida — 95 percent

Northview — 70 percent

Washington — 72 percent

Pine Forest — 64 percent

Tate — 77 percent

Pensacola — 62 percent

Escambia — 60 percent

The graduation rates at high schools in Santa Rosa County:

Navarre — 96 percent

Pace — 91 percent

Milton — 89 percent

Jay — 91 percent

Gulf Breeze — 94 percent

Central — 70 percent

The graduation rate measures the percentage of students who finish high school within four years of their first enrollment in the ninth grade.

The rate is calculated for an adjusted cohort of students — a group of students on the same schedule to graduate — taking into account those who enter or exit a group.