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Pinellas gets low marks for grad rates

June 04, 2008

Would someone please tell me just how do we compete in the world markets and attract businesses to Pinellas County with a 50% dropout rate?
 June 04, 2008
 Pinellas gets low marks for grad rates
 Pinellas County has one of the worst graduation rates among the 50 biggest school districts in the country, according to a national study released this morning. Its rate for the 2004-05 school year was 55.5 percent, putting it at 15th from the bottom, concluded the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, which is affiliated with Education Week magazine.
 Detroit topped the worst list, with a 37.5 percent graduation rate, followed by Milwaukee, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Clark County, Nev. Hillsborough County came in at No. 32 with a rate of 67.1 percent.
 Florida had a 60.8 percent rate that year (the most recent year for which national data was available), putting it at No. 44 among states behind Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. The national average was 70.6 percent.
 The research center uses its own formula to calculate grad rates for its annual Diplomas Count report, and its numbers are at odds with the state Department of Education. According to DOE, Florida had a 71.9 percent rate in 2004-05 and Pinellas had a 70.1 percent rate.
 For the first time this year, the research center broke down grad rates by congressional district. In Florida, the district represented by U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, had the second-worst rate, at 51.0 percent. Only the district of U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, was worse, at 50.8 percent.
 To see the entire Diploma Counts report, click here. To go straight to the Florida section, click here. By coincidence, today’s St. Petersburg Times listed graduation rates for each of Pinellas•’ 16 high schools. To see them, click here.
 – Ron Matus, state education reporter; Times photo/Dirk Shadd