Why does it matter?
High school graduation is intrinsically linked to a person’s economic standing. Wages not only increase with a person’s education, but even those individuals with only a high school diploma on average make more than those without. A diploma is also an essential requirement for enrollment into postsecondary institutions, thus not having a diploma is a barrier to accessing the growing pool of skilled work. Not graduating from high school creates barriers to economic growth that harm individual students for a lifetime, thus affecting the workforce and the entire community.
Where are we now?
Escambia County continues to see a growing number of students successfully graduate from high school. The retention of 9th graders is higher than the state average. However, many students enter high school prepared for the coursework, indicating that other factors are at play in these students’ lives. All high schools in Escambia County are currently graded as a C or above by the Florida Department of Education’s assessment.
How is it measured?
Graduation rates are not exclusively measured by the number of students graduating. Rather, it takes into account the percentage of students who were retained, missed more than 21 days of school and even the county school rating.
- 9th Grade Retention Rate: “Retention Rates by District 2019-2020, Final Survey 5.” Florida Department of Education, 2020, retrieved from https://www.fldoe.org.
- Adults without a High School Diploma: “Adults over the age of 25 without high school diploma or GED,” Florida Department of Health, Florida Health Charts, 2021, Database accessed via https://www.flhealthcharts.com.
- High School Graduation Rate: “Florida’s High School Cohort 2019-2020 Graduation Rate,” Florida Department of Education, 2020, retrieved from https://www.fldoe.org. (2021) “High School Graduation Rates, Escambia County.” Florida Department of Education, 2021, retrieved from https://edstats.fldoe.org.
- High Schools Grade C or Above: “School Grades 2018-2019,” Florida Department of Education, 2020, retrieved from https://www.fldoe.org.
- Chronically Absent: “Students Absent 21 or More Days and Absent 10% or More Comparison 2019-20, Final Survey 5,” Florida Department of Education, 2020, retrieved from https://www.fldoe.org.
What call to action is linked to this indicator?
High school graduation is the first step to attaining the post secondary technical credentialing or degrees that can lead to careers in the highly skilled workforce of the future. Ensuring that every student graduates, completes student financial aid applications and enrolls in a program of their choosing sets them on the path to their future.
Supporting student understanding of the critical nature of following the path to a career is our task.
Communities can organize employers, high school career programs, postsecondary institutions and vocational training providers to develop career paths with multiple points of employment to higher paying jobs in a particular industry. These efforts achieve employment goals for area employers while demonstrating the practice of career advancement through advanced training and further education to high school students. Career paths assist students for whom college may not be immediately affordable.