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Matanzas Graduation Rate at 90%, FPC at 83% As Charter School Drags Flagler’s Down

| December 13, 2011

High school graduation rates in percent. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Florida’s high school graduation rate reached a new high last year, at 80.1 percent, improving from 70.3 percent five years ago.

In Flagler County, the rate declined by two decimal points, to 83.3 percent. But that number is somewhat deceptive. The Flagler school district’s rate would have improved to 84.4 percent had it not been dragged down by Heritage Academy’s dismal graduation rate of 27 percent. Heritage, a failing charter school, graduated just five of 18 seniors last year. The graduation rate at Matanzas High School was 89.8 percent. The rate at Flagler Palm Coast High School was 83.1 percent.

For the district as a whole, graduating black students continues to be a challenge. While the white graduation rate is at 87 percent overall, it’s at 71 percent for black students, and 80.5 percent for Latino or Hispanic students. Asians are maintaining the highest local graduation rate, at 92.6 percent, as they are across the state.

The district’s drop-out rate was 1.7 percent, down from 1.8 percent the previous year and 2.2 percent in 2009. The graduation and drop-out rates are calculated differently. The graduation rate counts ninth through 12th graders, following them over four years, and it counts all those who graduated with regular and special diplomas within four years–but not those who got a GED (or General Equivalency Diploma) or those who went to adult education.

It also does not count those who may have needed to stay in school a fifth year, as a number of students do, and earn that diploma after a fifth year. High schools have often complained that while they may be doing just what the state wants them to do–ensure that students graduate–the exclusion of fifth-year students from their graduation rates ends up counting against a school’s overall rate.

The drop-out rate is a single-year rate. In other words, it totals up the number of students in ninth through 12th grade and calculates the number of students who, during that year, left school for for reasons other than home-schooling, adult education or transferring to another school. If students don’t fit in any of these three categories, they’re considered drop-outs.

Graduation and dropout rate calculations have bedeviled school administrators and analysts for years. There is no single way to calculate either, and no single way that calculates graduation rates uniformly across all 50 states, though beginning next year, the federal government will require that just such a calculation be part of the mix. Florida’s graduation rate would be considerably worse, for example, if special diplomas were excluded.

While the state’s graduation rate is improving, it remains well below the national average, and still in the bottom fifth nationally, with Florida’s drop-out rates among the highest in the nation, and its college-entrance rate among the lowest.

The Florida Department of Education’s full report is below.

Florida high school graduation rates report, 2011

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23 Responses for “Matanzas Graduation Rate at 90%, FPC at 83% As Charter School Drags Flagler’s Down”

  1. Kip Durocher says:

    This is one of the many problems of Charter schools.
    Many fail and local school boards which are not schooled in much other than election politics
    do not know when and how to pull the plug on them.
    Then the situation such as this just goes on and on and on. Failed Charter Schools

    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      I’m not sure I read that, Kip. I DID read that the way the counting is done does not include a myriad of other possible reasons for leaving school. Why not? Why can’t you break it down into categories to show the reason for the numbers?

      I also read that these figures are improving. While I wish they’d been better, they are hardly the failure you try to make them out to be.

  2. Doug Chozianin says:


    I found your published statistics about Heritage’s graduation rate so dismal that I couldn’t believe they were correct. So I called Heritage this morning and spoke with Business Manager Shawn Culbreth.

    Shawn said that there were only eight seniors in last year’s class and all graduated with either a diploma or a certificate of completion. Only one sixteen-year-old non-senior dropped out. His statistics and yours don’t correspond. (???)

    I suggested to Shawn that he post his own comment.



    • FlaglerLive says:

      Doug, you can see the complete school-by-school spreadsheet of graduation rates here (it’s in Excel), showing five out of 18 graduating. The disparity is explained twofold: the graduation rate and the drop-out rate are twos separate things. The graduation rate is calculated based on all those who started ninth grade but didn’t complete the cycle all the way to graduation–not just those who graduated last year. And the graduation rate does not include equivalencies or certificates of completion if they don’t fit in the state’s definition of what constitutes a graduate. That spreadsheet is based on figures provided by the school district to the state.

  3. palmcoaster says:

    “Charters Cheating” the educational system out of our hard earned school taxes that are supposed to be for educating our students and not for profit corporations disguised as “non profit” This what privatization brings to us and the lack of proper education of our future leaders.

    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      Private schools are respsonsible for our drop out rate? Is that what you were trying to say? I think NOT.

      Why do you think so many are home schooling now, palmcoaster?

  4. Justin says:

    And unifoms help drop out rate? I tottaly disagree on that its not the unifoms it’s the kids keep up the great work Flagler schools and we still have a little ways to go and say no to school unifoms;)

  5. roco says:

    I agree Kip and I’m also surprised the rate at our public schools is as high as it is considering our ( do nothing , can’t make a decision and I’m only in it for the money ) school board..

  6. Don Hopkins via Facebook says:

    And the schools need uniforms??? Wrong it’s the kids out of uniforms that are doing this, keep up the good work Flagler WITHOUT uniforms:)

  7. Justin Digeorgio via Facebook says:

    I 100% agree no uniforms;)

  8. Judy V says:

    Just think what the graduation rate will be when they start wearing uniforms!

  9. Gia says:

    to pass the test they lower the scores, so no matter what they will graduate anyway. Today we have a bunch of dumb idiot & ignorant going out of the school. Let face it kids still handle their pencils like an ice pic etc… Then, you wonder why US corporate like GE goes in China build their own R&D & factories & form they own Chinese engineers.

  10. Don says:

    Hey that’s what I said lol but no they really don’t help with any of that stuff all they do is for teachers to take time away from kids becuase there unifom is not on correctly, what a frekin joke!!! And drop out rate with uniforms will go back up I know it is :(

  11. palmcoaster says:

    Dear Doug. These “business” charters are very well known to distort data to their favor as they are not held to the same standards as our traditional public schools. “Their version” is what the Heritage “Business Manager” told you actually of what in reality differs and was presented to the school district board to file with the State. I would only go by what is on file as found for us by Flagler Live.
    Now if the files are wrong Heritage “Business Manager” needs to address it and publish it.

  12. Devrie says:

    It doesn’t matter whether they are public or private, we are all going to pay for them. I wonder, though, what the graduation rates for the county were before the charter schools? I ask, because I always assumed that Heritage Academy took on students who were higher academic risks anyway.

    If that’s the case, then the charter schools are taking on the students who present a bigger challenge…leaving the public schools with the higher performers.

    I’m not sure this information tells us anything about whether we should pull the plug on charters or not, but it is good to know.

  13. palmcoaster says:

    @One of the 10%. No one said that “private schools” are riponsible for the “drop out” rate. Was reported that “charter” schools are risponsible for the low “graduation rate” and I totally believe it. That actually is different than the “drop out rate”.
    Lately home schooling is less expensive for parents on the increasing failing economy. Also some students are home schooled over religious reasons. Is a parents choice while available.

  14. johnc says:

    Education starts at home!!!! Parents need to spend time and make sure their kids do their work!! FCAT (forget college after this) is a disaster. Let the teachers do what they are trained to do Teach!!! Not follow mandates by the state. The state is screwing it up for everyone!!! As for maintaining and keeping black students in school it starts at HOME!!!! Need to break the cycle and stop making excuses for them. If they want to learn good, if not get out!!! and stop holding back the students that want to learn!!!!
    Parents take responsibility for once and all its your tax dollars, get rid of the long term politicians! Use your voice and take a stand!!! I am so glad my 2 sons do not go to school here they are much better up north where they can get a good education and where the distractions of the classroom are not tolerated.

  15. w.ryan says:

    There are numerous reasons parents home school. Don’t hold to the religious angle. The other point I want to make is that the rush to privatize education has taken money out of public schools. Our School Board seem to be creating ways to incentive parents to come back to their schools. Uniforms, discipline and creative finance has taken the place standardized education. How many more ways can you do a math equation. The old ways work. Its about getting the lesson to the child so that child can learn and retain the information. Charter schools supposedly do this in a unique way. Unfortunately as we see in the stats, the hood and body looks good but under the hood is the problem. As for African American students, if you are more likely to be iced or suspended or stereotyped or more likely have an unstable environment surrounding your home life the results come out negatively. There are too many disparities in their learning environment. To punish them for it instead of reaching out in a positive way will result in these stats.

  16. Jack Howell says:

    I taught high school for 13 years, in inner city high schools, throughout the nation. The one significant failure that impacts our school system is that the kids can’t read. Does not matter if they are white, black, yellow, green, blue etc. Yes, the can read the words but, they can’t comprehend what they mean in a sentence/paragraph. This failure impacts their self- worth they become frustrated as they can’t compete with their peers…they fall behind. Poor grades, lack of motivation and lack of interest leads to droping out of school.

    Who is to blame for this? Is it our teachers, administrators or parents? It is all of us! Parents don’t actively engage with their kids, don’t help with homework and don’t provide a positive learning enviornment at home. If your a single parent, it makes no difference, just that your job is harder. Teachers and administrators allow themselves to be bullied, by parents or meeting state/federal requirements (No Child Left Behind) in promoting students that are not ready for the next grade level.

    Instead of pointing fingers, lets get together and get the job done. The resources are available!

  17. Joe Gonzalez via Facebook says:

    Flagler live, will you please stop reporting about “charter schools” as a whole and start calling them out by name. I am a proud parent of two ” Imagineers” from Imagine school at Town Center. Your reporting talks as if all charter schools are a bad thing. Every school has its problems but the worst is the state and federal govt and their “standardized testing”. Let the teachers do their jobs and teach, not forcefeed test taking as an education. Charter schools are schools of choice, choices made by concerned parents about the style of education that our youth are receiving. Remember the school district has the opportunity to revoke charters from these schools, but somehow they seem to still be here, but don’t blame all for the action of some.

  18. Justin says:

    I disagree, charter schools need to go, because there is a thing called pubic schools here and it’s wasting all of the school money on them , For what 200 students? Charter schools need to go and so does loud mouth Dickson as well.

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