Is Florida a High School Dropout Factory?

MIAMI (AP) _ Florida's public high schools have some of the worst student retention rates in the country, with half qualifying as ``Dropout Factories.''

That's according to a new analysis conducted by Johns Hopkins University for The Associated Press.

The state's percentage of dropout factories (51.1 percent) is the second-highest in the nation, slightly less than South Carolina's. The term dropout factory describes schools where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year.

Researcher Bob Balfanz says he has a hypothesis about why Florida's numbers are so high: large schools and a focus on test scores. Schools with an average of 2,000 or 3,000 students are fairly common throughout the state.

And with the emphasis on test scores instead of graduation rates, schools aren't heavily penalized for low retention rates.

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