Florida high school graduation rate exceeds pre-pandemic levels after 0.4% rise, state says

2021-22 statewide rate is 87.3%

Manny Diaz Jr. (File) (News Service of Florida)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Education on Friday celebrated an overall improvement in the state’s high school graduation rate since the 2018-19 school year.

That’s up 0.4%, bringing Florida’s high school graduation rate in 2021-22 to 87.3%, according to FDOE.

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A news release that included quotes from Manny Diaz Jr., the state’s education commissioner, stated the figure change represents “a true ‘apples to apples’ comparison.” Diaz credited Gov. Ron DeSantis for reopening schools during the pandemic and did not forget to suggest other states fared worse.

“These graduation results are the culmination of the hard work and dedication of Florida’s teachers, students, parents and school leaders, along with Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to keep schools open for in-person instruction,” Diaz said in a statement. “While many around the nation were lowering expectations and keeping at-risk students at a distance from their teachers and needed educational supports, Florida was empowering parents to make this decision and moreover Florida’s teachers stepped up to the plate and delivered for students who had learning gaps to overcome.”

High school graduation rates for the 2021-22 school year in News 6′s 10-county coverage area compare to the 2018-19 data as follows:

  • Orange County: 87%
    • Previous: 88.4%
  • Brevard County: 87.2%
    • Previous: 88.3%
  • Volusia County: 88.9%
    • Previous: 84.5%
  • Lake County: 88.6%
    • Previous: 86.8%
  • Marion County: 83.5%
    • Previous: 83.8%
  • Seminole County: 93%
    • Previous: 92.8%
  • Flagler County: 90.5%
    • Previous: 88.7%
  • Osceola County: 85.2%
    • Previous: 90%
  • Sumter County: 93.1%
    • Previous: 87.2%
  • Polk County: 78.3%
    • Previous: 81.2%

Looking ahead, the release described a tailwind in student improvement for the 2023-24 school year due to the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking progress monitoring system replacing Florida Standards Assessments.

Though the current school year was described in the release as a “hold harmless” transition year to the new system, the state pushed “the fact that students’ scores are already elevating (as) an indication that educators are leveraging more timely and actionable student learning data,” citing preliminary results from the first two of three check-ins.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.