Only half of black students graduate from Escambia County public schools

December 3, 2012

The Florida Department of Education released on Friday the graduates rates for Florida public schools, according to federal standards. Escambia County has the lowest graduations rates in the area, especially among its African-American students. The state’s graduation rate for white students is 79.38 percent, Escambia is 12 percentage points below that – 67.47 percent.  The African-American students have a 63.67 percent graduation rate statewide, but only 50.24 percent in Escambia County.  Okaloosa County has the best graduation rates of the three counties.


District Name White Graduates White Cohort White Graduation Rate Black or African American Graduates Black or African American Cohort Black or African American Graduation Rate
ESCAMBIA 1,122 1,663 67.47 523 1,041 50.24
SANTA ROSA 1,303 1,683 77.42 61 90 67.78
OKALOOSA 1,343 1,579 85.05 163 224 72.77
FLORIDA 72,350 91,139 79.38 27,656 43,439 63.67

As bad as these graduation rates are for Escambia County, there are up from last year. Last year (2010-2011), the white graduation rate was 64.68 percent, black graduation rate 45.29 percent. However, the margin between the county’s graduation rates and the statewide rates is about the same. Escambia County isn’t closing the gap.

Here is how it breaks down by high school – Pine Forest appears to have the biggest graduation issues of the regular high schools. West Florida High exceeds state percentages.

School Name White Graduates White Cohort White Graduation Rate Black or African American Graduates Black or African American Cohort Black or African American Graduation Rate
ESCAMBIA HIGH SCHOOL 169 266 63.53 78 149 52.35
PENSACOLA HIGH SCHOOL 98 133 73.68 119 225 52.89
J. M. TATE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL 303 413 73.37 29 39 74.36
PINE FOREST HIGH SCHOOL 112 206 54.37 92 183 50.27
WASHINGTON SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL 162 217 74.65 104 163 63.80
NORTHVIEW HIGH SCHOOL 74 105 70.48 8 19 42.11
WEST FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOL/TECH 178 199 89.45 86 89 96.63
E SEAL CENTER # # # 0 13 0.00
JUDY ANDREWS 6 20 30.00 0 11 0.00
ESCAMBIA SCH. DIST. JAIL PROG. # # # 0 15 0.00

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  • RT December 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Indeed, George. However, for what it might be worth, my early view of the world did not include YMCA’s, playgrounds, subsidized school meals, after-school programs, community centers, community programs, or any other goodies–especially those so generously lavished (if that is a fair use of the word) upon people by governments in 2012 (and increasingly ever since the days of good old LBJ). I do, though, remember church, tough teachers, and a parent with a hickory switch.

    Yeah, I know this is beginning to sound like one of those stories in which someone talks about walking barefoot five miles through the snow to the school, uphill both ways. (Actually, it was not snowing all the time, it was less than five miles, and I did have shoes.)

    So, without straying further from the subject at hand, I will say only this as a final (really final) comment: Governments, programs, teachers, school system administrators, and even community activists and leaders cannot solve all the problems of decadent, slothful, amoral (immoral), or even discouraged and disadvantaged individuals. I despair in the belief that there is no solution unless individuals become responsible for themselves.

    With that, adieu!

  • George Hawthorne December 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    RT – No need to apologize, I do understand and agree with your position. I also enjoyed the further edification regarding your background and I understand that you (like I) have had to take an active participation in escaping poverty.

    Although, I want to submit to you the possibility that having a two parent household gave some advantages with parental guidance. Another issue was when we were growing up there was a higher moral standard and level of discipline that was instilled within society. Clearly, times have changed and we are faced with a new set of socio-conditions which has widen the gap between the poor and the middle-class.

    Another reality when you are dealing with our education system that has a narrowly-tailored objective (educating children) it becomes hard for them to have the vision that is needed to address the issues of these children outside of the classroom.

    I too have been blessed to have been given opportunity to progressm however, I don’t see where the same opportunities are available to today’s youth. Look at all of the extra-curricular resources that are not available today (YMCA’s, playgrounds/gyms, afterschool programs etc.). Those that are availale have become havens for drugs, gangs and other negative influences.

  • RT December 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

    George, you say, “Come on RT, just say you misunderstood or admit to yourself that maybe you perceive me as only advocating for African-American causes instead of ‘community causes.'”

    George, I have no real standing to say what you are saying. So, in whatever way I have misunderstood or incorrectly characterized your position, I apologize.

    I would, however, like to offer a final observation in the form of a personal anecdote that might explain my frustration with arguments that point so inflexibly to social-economic disadvantages as primary explanations for high school drop out rates.

    Once upon a time (well, actually this is a true story), about a half century ago, I graduated from high school That I did so was not remarkable unless you want to take into account my very marginal social-economic disadvantages. We were poor (i.e., if you looked up poor in the dictionary, you could have seen my family’s picture), we routinely received meager government subsistence handouts (i.e., those wonderful boxes of food stuffs in plain brown wrappers–and the 5 pound can of peanut butter was especially delicious), my parents had not graduated from high school (but they did make as far as the eighth grade), and I had very few choices in life: coal mines (if I didn’t mind a miserable and dangerous life underground), steel mills (if I could have relocated and if they would have been hiring), or finishing high school (and, along the way, staying out of trouble and doing well enough so that other doors opened beyond graduation). Well, to make a long story short, George, since I might be boring you already, I did not use my social or economic status as an excuse (and my family would have never allowed that kind of self-indulgent, blame-someone-else whining), and I somehow made it out of poverty, the kind of poverty that did not involve generous government handout, and I did so without social programs or other interventions (unless you want to count the subsistence food handouts that we needed from time to time). So, perhaps I have a limited and biased perspective on issues such as high school completion. Yeah, I know my perspective is myopic, naive, and insensitive (some people will actually say that), and I know I do not possess the educational or sociological wizardry claimed by others, but I do have common sense. And I think a common sense solution–involving personal responsibility without excuses–could go a long way to reversing the drop-out trends.

    Well, there you have my final word on the issue.

    I hope you now understand at least one of the reasons why I do not see the issue through the same lenses that others are using. I’m just an old dog with a questionable pedigree who has been down the hard-scrabble trail a few times. I guess I cannot learn new tricks.

  • r. cothran December 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Any study on children and academic performance that doesn’t begin and end with the atomic family should be viewed critically. Well beyond race and socio-economics, the characteristics of the child’s home is the single biggest indicator of how well the child will perform (Rumberger and Lim, 2008).

    In reality, this is a problem which ‘government’ intervention can only generally mitigate, but, never solve… one can’t very well legislate family values and such.

    One note : I suppose I am having a hard time understanding something – the comment was made ‘Others are succeeding where this community is failing’. How is the failure of 541 ‘white students’ to complete their education considered ‘succeeding’ while the failure of 518 ‘black students’ to complete their education is ‘failing’. And please, refrain from rebutting with references to the stated percentages as I am certain we are all acutely aware that within the process of sampling, percentages will ALWAYS favor the smaller comparison group over the larger comparison group.

  • joe December 5, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Tanisha, (That research would be worth reading. Is there a link available? )

    “Research has shown, and successful programs have been proven that schools that operate with the management philosophy that allow socially marginalized students to
    integrate development and learning have achievement that exceed schools from wealthier neighborhoods.”

    SAM, so Americans are spoiled, lazy and we have created an entitlement society? Yep, afraid so.
    We need to encourage more immigration of the foreigners that kick our tails with their effort and deport the ones who come to this country to receive gov’t handouts that raise taxes, crime, etc.
    RT, What’s even worse than the poor graduation rates is the dumbing down that has taken place in the education system. In spite of all the testing graduates still suffer in their ability to perform basic math, communiate and critically think, making their employment opportunites quite limited. Some good programs do exist for further education; bright futures, college courses paid for (by the state or county) while in high school, Pell grants paying $5000 or more towards college, per year and numerous other grants and scholarships available. Opportunities exist for all students. The work ethic required to acheive success may even begin at a much earlier age than many think. (pre-school perhaps)

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