Florida Gives Out New Grades for High Schools

Nearly half of Florida's high schools are getting an A grade for the 2012-13 school year.

No F's were given out to Miami-Dade and Broward County high schools, according to numbers released by the Florida Department of Education Wednesday.

The number of A schools went down in both Miami-Dade and Broward, confirmed Cheryl Etters, press secretary with the Florida Department of Education. Miami-Dade has 34 A schools this year, as opposed to 35 last year. Broward has 25 A schools as opposed to 27 A schools last year.

Miami-Dade also gained three D schools, as opposed to zero last year. The number of F schools remained at zero for both counties.

The number of B schools in Miami-Dade remained the same at 15. In Broward County there were 10 B schools in 2013 and 5 in 2012. C schools went down in both districts: Miami-Dade with 5 in 2013 over 7 in 2012; Broward with 3 in 2013 over 7 in 2012.

The FDOE numbers include charter schools which do not fall under Miami-Dade Public Schools or Broward Public Schools jurisdiction.

At a Wednesday press conference, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho celebrated that 60 percent of district high schools received an A rating, outperforming the state average of 48 percent.

The press conference took place at Miami Northwestern Senior High, a school that just five years ago was in jeopardy of being shut down by the state due to its abysmal academics, but received its first A grade this year.

"It was rough around the edges, with certain kids not caring about their education," senior Kenneth Jordan said.

But the arrival of Principal Wallace Aristide who put things into perspective.

"Mr. Aristide got into the school and started making rules and stuff. Made it a lot tighter," senior Roxan Smith said.

Because of students like Smith and Jordan who are both headed to four-year colleges on scholarship, Northwestern is no longer lagging behind other schools, Carvalho said.

"It's been a long journey, but today we are here at Miami Northwestern, at "Bull Nation" to celebrate this school's first-ever A designation by the state of Florida," he said.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade elementary and middle schools received report cards last week and the results were glaringly different. There were a lot fewer schools earning As and Bs and almost twice as many earning Ds and Fs.

Carvalho blames the state for changing the accountability and standards without notice. He said accountability changes are being investigated at the state level.

Statewide, the grades released Wednesday show a slight increase in the number of A graded schools. Nearly half of Florida's high schools are getting an A grade for the 2012-13 school year.
But the number of D and F rated schools also went up. There were eight high schools that received F grades as opposed to just three in 2012.

Florida released grades for the rest of its public schools over the summer amid a controversy over the accuracy of the grading formula.
The state has a safety net provision in place that prevents a school from dropping more than one letter grade a year.
The state grades its high schools based on student performance on tests, as well as graduation rates and other factors.

For a full list of high school grades, click here.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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