Greene Disputes Florida’s Increased Graduation Rate

Published January 1, 2005

Just because Manhattan Institute researcher Jay Greene agrees with Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on the value of school choice doesn’t mean Greene endorses everything Bush says.

Greene recently questioned Bush’s statement that high school graduation rates in the Sunshine State had increased for the fifth consecutive year, rising to 71.6 percent in 2004 compared to 60.4 percent in 1999.

A Miami Herald analysis showed the 2004 graduation rate was the same 66 percent figure that was reported to the federal government in 2003 for students who received a standard high school diploma. The 71.6 percent graduation rate from the Florida Department of Education includes students who received special education diplomas and students who received a GED after dropping out of regular high school. Greene said GED recipients shouldn’t be counted as high school graduates.

“It would be a little like counting a patient as a cure for a doctor when the patient left a doctor’s care,” Greene told the Orlando Sentinel. “We wouldn’t want to do that if we’re interested in how our high schools are doing or how our doctors are doing.”