One of the key issues surrounding the latest release of Florida’s individual school grades is the higher bar the state employs as enshrined in law. When more than 75 percent of the state’s high schools earn A’s or B’s in one year, the grading criteria gets tougher the next. That occurred in 2013, so this year expectations rose and scoring changed. How can the public compare school performance from year to year under shifting standards?
December’s grades for Manatee County are strong. Lakewood Ranch and Braden River public high schools earned A rankings as did two charters, Manatee School for the Arts and the State College of Florida Collegiate School. Manatee and Southeast received B’s, and Bayshore and Palmetto slipped one level down to C’s. Southeast also fell by one level in these preliminary grades.
It’s questionable student performance dropped off. Manatee County’s graduation rate, one of the components in the school grading system, stands at 75.7, slightly lower than last year but almost the same as the state mark, 76.1 percent, the highest in 11 years.