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Diplomas Count 2012: Miami-Dade's Record, and Upcoming Webinar

Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center just released the 2012 edition of Diplomas Count, which included an article I wrote on the 347,000-student Miami-Dade district and its track record of spurring Latino students to high academic achievement.

Miami-Dade is not the only school system that sees strong student growth among many of its Hispanic students, a demographic group that is growing nationwide but already comprises 65 percent of the South Florida district's population. However, a combination of long-time experience and community embrace of multilingualism are some of the factors that have played a role in Miami-Dade's success.

From the article:

Local educators say part of that success is due to an education system that has had years of practice in educating students whose home language is Spanish. Another piece can be linked to the district's ties to a community where Hispanics are not only present in large numbers, but also have political clout and an appreciation for maintaining bilingualism.

[T]he district's 4th and 8th grade Latino students have managed to earn above average scores in mathematics and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The achievement gaps between Latinos and whites in these subjects are also smaller on average than they are for other large, urban school districts and the nation as a whole. In addition, Miami-Dade ranks first in the nation in both the number of AP exams taken by Hispanic students and the number of Hispanic students earning a 3 or higher, out of a possible 5, on at least one AP exam, according to statistics provided to the district by the College Board, the New York City-based sponsor of the testing program.

The U.S. Department of Education has directed states to use a new graduation-rate calculation, which includes standard diplomas but excludes the GED and special diplomas. By that calculation, Miami-Dade's graduation rate for Hispanic students in 2010-11 was 72.8 percent, compared with 69.4 percent for Hispanic students statewide. The overall graduation rate for the district was 71.3 percent versus 70.6 percent statewide.

I encourage you to read this article and the other excellent work that my colleagues have compiled for this package. And if you're interested in learning more about Miami-Dade's efforts, I'm hosting a free webinar with two district officials from 2-3 p.m. ET on June 12. Please register, listen to the presentation and feel free to ask questions about the district's work and about educating Latino students in general.


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