La determined to raise graduation rates

Katherine Miller


CROWLEY – A recent study that is turning heads among both state and local educators states that the Louisiana graduation rate is “alarmingly” poor.

This study, done by a national study group, has rushed leaders in education to meet next week to seek solutions. “It’s a serious problem,” said John Warner Smith, chief executive office of Education’s Next Horizon, a statewide volunteer group that’s is currently working with the Department of Education. “The good news is that it’s solvable,” he added.

Other such studies show that Louisiana, over the course of the next decade, will have a graduation rate of 43 percent. Vermont, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Maine fell into this category also, with the smallest decrease being 17.9 percent in Maine.

Coincidentally, during this same time frame, public school enrollment is expected to fall 12 percent in Louisiana, with the aforementioned states following close behind.

Louisiana’s graduation rate, at this time is at 65 percent, which goes along with other shocking revelations, such that out of every 100 students entering ninth grade, only 15 will complete an advanced training or degree program, and that one-third of eighth graders do not graduate from high school. Nationally, the high school graduation rate for public schools is expected to rise by 18 percent despite the grim outlook for the state of Louisiana.

The nation’s Education Trust report, titled “Counting on Graduation” emphasizes the need for Louisiana and the rest of the nation to take action. In part, it states that “Among industrialized nations, the United States is the only country in which today’s young people are less likely than their parents to have earned a high school diploma. Reversing this trend could hardly be more urgent.”

Dianna Guidry, Acadia Parish Adult Education advocate, says that a new system, named Cohart Graduation Index is a recently developed tool that Acadia Parish is using to focus on its graduation rate. “Many factors go into this index that will be able to track students’ progress more closely,” she said. Guidry explained that this will be the second year the system is used.

Cal Simar, Acadia Parish School Board Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance, said, “We are currently waiting to receive each school’s results from the parish, so we are able to see where we stand as a parish.” Cal Simar, Acadia Parish School Board Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance. He further noted that these results would be available during mid-November.

About 950 people from the Department of Education, school systems, community organizations and businesses for Tuesday’s summit. Registration for the day will begin at 8 a.m. with events for the day starting at 9 a.m. for those interested in attending.

Promoters of the “Louisiana Promise” summit say that they are dedicated to make plans that will stimulate local school systems and community leaders to develop localized plans to address this increasing problem.

Acadia Parish Today

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