Florida education officials have launched an investigation into whether school districts are moving students around as part of an effort to manipulate graduation rates.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said that late last year the state began taking a closer look at students in 10 counties who were switching to alternative schools in their senior year, but now, the probe has been expanded statewide. The investigation will look at all students who were in the 12th grade but excluded from data used to determine graduation rates.
The disclosure of the investigation is unusual, especially since Florida leaders have continually touted the state’s rising graduation rates over the past few years. But state legislators and news reports have begun to question the validity of the data. Last fall, the state asked for responses from 10 counties reporting that at least 10 percent of their students who failed to get a diploma and pass statewide exams had transferred to a private school in their senior year. Many of them wound up in online alternative charter schools.
A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2017 edition of Education Week as Graduation Rates Probed by Florida Officials