While it seems that more and more money is dumped into public education below the college level, the positive results of that investment go lower and lower.
With the blush of success still fresh in mind at graduation time, barely 50 percent of students entering high schools in Pinellas County for the 2006 graduating classes graduated.
Not finishing high school has to be counted as a failure on the part of an individual.
That failure is not condemnatory, but with more and more emphasis being placed on educational credentials, about 50 percent of Pinellas County 18-year-olds begin their adult lives lacking a high school diploma.
While there may be a happy-go-lucky attitude toward that now, as time unfolds and the reality of the world looms larger those without diplomas may have strong regrets.
Of all the county high schools, the highest rate of graduation was at Palm Harbor University H.S. which probably not surprising, that being an elite school.
The lowest rate, based on figures given at the time in May of graduations, was at Largo High School where 931 students were listed as entering the class of 2006 and only 330 graduated, for a measly 35.5 percentage.
That low performance cannot be blamed on the Largo government which, like all the other jurisdictions in the county, has nothing directly to do with school administration or results.
The Pinellas County School Board controls, and thus is responsible, for whatever results their schools come up with.
Pinellas Park High School showed the second worst graduation results with 39 percent of the entering 966 freshmen graduating. With the third place spot of dubious distinction was St. Petersburg's Northeast High School, with a 40 percent successful graduation performance.
On the high, successful side East Lake H.S. was second to Palm Harbor University with a 62 percent rate and then came Seminole High School with 59.5 percent.
Lakewood High School was at 56 percent, Tarpon Springs at 51.3 percent and St. Petersburg High School at 50.3 percent. All the others were below 50 percent.
Of course, some of those entered at a particular school four years ago may have moved from that particular school or from the area altogether. But the overall figures paint a picture that is not encouraging.
Coupled with that, scores on reading at grade level fell at every Pinellas County high school. Levels measured in 2001 fell in every school with the levels found after test scores in 2006.
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