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Katie Sanders
By Katie Sanders September 11, 2013

Weatherford misstates rate of state's college-ready graduates

Even though Florida’s graduation rate is much better than it used to be, there is still room for improvement in terms of college readiness, House Speaker Will Weatherford said.

Just one in three students is ready for college when he or she graduates high school.

"That’s a problem, that’s a real problem," Weatherford said Sept. 10 as the guest speaker at a Suncoast Tiger Bay luncheon. "So while we’re having this debate about Common Core, and the grading system, and how much we pay our teachers, and how we should assess our students’ performance, just remember that one out of every three students currently today is ready for college before they go there."

Weatherford earlier joked about intense PolitiFact coverage of "every word that comes out of my mouth," so we knew his team would not be surprised by us asking for backup of his claim that "one out of every three students currently today is ready for college before they go there."

Weatherford spokesman Ryan Duffy responded to our inquiry on Twitter, directing us to Florida Department of Education data for the percentage of 2011 public high school graduates who took the SAT, ACT or CPT and scored at or above college-level scores.

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The state average was 64.7 percent.

As Miami Herald political reporter Marc Caputo pointed out, that actually means two out of every three high school students graduates public school college-ready. Not one in three, as Weatherford said.

Duffy acknowledged the flub. He insisted Weatherford has cited the statistic correctly in the past.

Our ruling

For us, the facts here aligned pretty easily (thanks, Twitter). Weatherford said one in three Florida students graduates high school prepared for college. Based on Florida Department of Education data, it’s two in three.

We rate Weatherford’s claim False.

Our Sources

Remarks by Will Weatherford at Suncoast Tiger Bay meeting, Sept. 10, 2013

Tweets from spokesman Ryan Duffy, Sept. 10, 2013

Florida Department of Education, High School Feedback Report for 2011 students

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Weatherford misstates rate of state's college-ready graduates

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