Only 42 percent of Escambia County high school graduates plan to attend a college. State average is two-thirds

Every time a new statistic comes out on education I find myself looking harder at what is happening in the Escambia County public school district. This week I was told that few of the graduates from the district are qualified to enroll in a community college or university.

I couldn’t find such a report on the Florida DOE website, but the state does track the post-secondary plans of high school graduates. Across the state, 66 percent of the high school graduates planned in 2010-11, the most recent report, to attend a community college or university–28 percent community college, 32 percent university, 6 percent out-of-state. See postsecond1011.

Escambia County had only two out of five of its high school graduates report that they would be attending college or a university. Santa Rosa reported 77 percent. Okaloosa reported 52 percent.

It’s hard to compete for new corporations, especially with the emphasis on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for a more educated workforce, with so few getting into two- and four-year institutions.

We may need a community-wide task force to intervene and figure how to truly improve our public education system.

Escambia, 2010-11
Graduates 2149
Community College 231 11%
University 487 23%
Non-Florida 179 8%
897 42%
Santa Rosa
Graduates 1675
Community College 324 19%
University 781 47%
Non-Florida 179 11%
1284 77%
Graduates 2014
Community College 259 13%
University 617 31%
Non-Florida 179 9%
1055 52%
Graduates 165579
Community College 46349 28%
University 53240 32%
Non-Florida 9668 6%
109257 66%

When you add in trade schools, continuing ed and enlistment in Armed Forces, the Escambia County percentage jumps to 48.86 percent. The state average goes to 73.19 percent.

Only three districts have a lower percentage than Escambia County —Flagler 42.25 percent, Manatee 48.77 percent and Orange 30.75 percent