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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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White: Public schools make computer gains

Last Modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 2:03 PM

BATON ROUGE (AP) — State Superintendent of Education John White says 86 percent of public school students are attending schools that meet minimum computer requirements.

In addition, officials say 38 school districts meet the new guidelines, up from five a year ago.

Under new rules, all of Louisiana's 70 school districts are supposed to reach seven to one ratios for online access, which means at least one computer or similar device for every seven students.

The Advocate reported the improvements are to be in place for the 2014-15 school year, and in time for students to take online tests as part of a national push for more rigorous classes, which is called common core.

"I am thrilled today to say that our districts are really responding to that challenge," White told reporters on Thursday. "They are making investments and working very hard, as evidenced by today's results."

The issue sparked controversy last week at the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Ascension Parish Superintendent Patrice Pujol, who is also president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, told BESE that there are widespread concerns among school leaders about meeting the deadline, especially in rural parishes.

Many of the school systems that have not met minimum computer requirements are in less populated areas.

But White said that just because a school system has a modest population does not mean it cannot comply with the new rules.

He noted that the St. Helena Parish school system, one of the poorest in the state, is also one of eight districts with three to one ratios for computer access.

The East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Iberville districts made the same list.

The St. James Parish school system has achieved a one to one ratio for its students.

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