Here in Louisiana, 75 percent of students in the class of 2014 (the latest year for which the data are available) graduated high school, up from 71 percent just three years ago. The numbers for East Baton Rouge Parish are lower, at 66 percent, up from 63 percent in 2011. We are making progress in increasing graduation rates because the leaders of schools, districts, communities and states are working hard to drive change. We are seeing that big progress is possible, even in challenged districts and states.
Louisiana and East Baton Rouge schools face very real challenges. The state has the nation’s seventh-highest rate of child poverty with 26.5 percent of youngsters living in poor homes. More than half of the state’s public school students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. In East Baton Rouge, more than 81 percent of students live in low-income families by this measure. According to the Grad Nation report, low-income and minority students graduate at significantly lower numbers than their middle/upper-income and white peers… Graduating 90 percent of the state’s seniors would mean 7,500 more students graduate in the class of 2020 than did in the class of 2013. There are promising solutions, if we have the will as a community to reach and exceed the 90 percent goal by 2020. Based on graduation rate data, we know which schools to focus our efforts on, and we can put in place strategies that have shown promise…
Read the full article at The Advocate, here.
Robert Balfanz is a research professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Education and the director of the Everyone Graduates Center. Ryan Mattingly is the Baton Rouge Field Manager for Talent Development Secondary.