StateImpact Florida
7:33 am
Tue November 12, 2013

What Florida’s Graduation Rates Say About Opportunity In Our State

National trends: The Opportunity Index measures factors that contribute to quality of life, like graduation rates and access to early learning.
National trends: The Opportunity Index measures factors that contribute to quality of life, like graduation rates and access to early learning.
Credit Opportunity Nation / OpportunityNation.org

Florida doesn’t offer as much opportunity to its young people as other states do, according to new research from Opportunity Nation.

The bipartisan organization compiles an index of community characteristics to measure how people’s zip codes affect their quality of life.

The index includes measure such as access to early learning, violent crime rates and graduation rates.

“As a nation, we’re fixated on unemployment, and of course it’s important. But the real core issues of opportunity have been going on for much more than simply this recession,” said Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation.

“One of the measures of opportunity is the percentage of young adults in your community that graduate from high school—we know when that number is low, communities don’t do well,” he said.

Edwards was in Florida for a Grad Nation summit on the national dropout crisis. Ultimately, Edwards told the crowd of educators, he wants to see people vote on issues of opportunity—not unemployment.

Florida ranks 22nd  in the country for unemployment. But with other factors, we rank 40th for opportunity.

Our less-than-desirable high-school-graduation and higher-education rates harmed our ranking—though our access to preschool was better than the national average.

You can see how opportunity in your zip code measures up to state and national averages at OpportunityIndex.org.