Last Modified: Friday, January 24, 2014 2:36 PM
State Education Superintendent John White hosted a public forum Thursday at Sowela Technical Community College to discuss the final draft proposal for his Jump Start initiative.
Jump Start, according to an Education Department news release, is a “new program for school districts, colleges and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students, certifying them for the career fields most likely to lead to high-wage jobs.”
Many educators from Calcasieu and surrounding parishes, and local industry professionals, attended the forum to ask questions and comment on the proposal. White will take the final draft of the initiative to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on March 6.
During the forum, White said the initiative is important because students, especially those who don’t qualify for the TOPS scholarship program for a four-year college, can earn credentials that will assist them and give them headway in a community college or help them be viable employees.
“If we are going to do that, we’ve got to bring industry in and have our community colleges at the table with our high schools to provide those courses together as part of a regional team,” White said.
He said less than 20 percent of Louisiana high school students earn a four-year degree and that more than 27 percent of students take longer than four years to complete high school.
“We’ve got to end the stigma against career education,” he said. “It’s a viable path to the middle class, and ending the stigma is a necessary step.”
White said BESE will approve the proposal. If it does, school districts can start the program in the fall, he said.
“Southwest Louisiana is the heart of job growth, not just in Louisiana but also in the United States,” White said.
“The demand for jobs is overwhelming, but these are not the jobs of our grandfathers and grandmothers; these are technical, sophisticated jobs. So the question that I see in front of us is how equipped are our students, and if they are not, we are missing an enormous opportunity for them and our state.”
Posted By: Neil On: 1/24/2014
Title: white is a joke......send him back to new jersey and give us a real leader
send this guy back to wherever they found him......and let jindal follow him........neither has any idea of what an education system is........white has tried to destroy the school system of our state........
he never had experience other than teaching in a private school in new jersey for 1 year and he gets to be the boss of education in Louisiana.........what a sham .............