graduation rates

Louisiana’s education system made history this week, and it’s time to do some bragging.

State Superintendent John White said the four-year high school graduation rate has surpassed 80 percent for the first time, and the graduation rate for African American students has surpassed the national average for the first time.

“Today we honor the hard work of literally tens of thousands of young people, tens of thousands of parents and grandparents, community leaders, school board members, superintendents, teachers and principles, counselors — everything that goes into a young man or woman completing high school and going on to the next phase of their life,” White said Wednesday. “It’s an incalculable effort and it deserves to be celebrated.”

White said the graduation rate increased from 78.2 percent in 2017 to 81.4 percent in 2018. Louisiana graduated 40,124 students last year, up from 39,995 in 2017. Our state’s graduation rate, once nearly 10 points off the national average, is now nearing that average.

White said more than 78 percent of African American students graduated in 2018, up from 72.9 percent in 2017. The national average is 77.8 percent.

White also noted that more than half of all students who entered ninth grade in Louisiana not only graduated four years later, but also graduated having passed a college course or an Advanced Placement course, or having earned an industry-based credential that validates them as eligible for employment in a high-wage field.

Of the students who earned credentials, 15 percent earned advanced credentials — such as passing an Advanced Placement or CLEP test or earning a credential in a craft trade. In 2013, less than 4 percent of graduates earned advanced credentials.

“What that means is our high schools are putting life and economic opportunities in the hands of young people,” White said. “These are credits, these are credentials that young people can take to any employer in any state, take to any higher institution of learning in any state.”

That’s not the only news worth celebrating.

Calcasieu’s graduation numbers are also up.

The parish’s graduation rate grew by more than 4 percent, from 84 percent in 2017 to 88.2 percent in 2018. That’s the highest graduation rate for the district in more than a decade.

We want to say congratulates to all school employees, from administration on down to staff, who have worked tirelessly to keep students in school and coach them through their final year onto receiving a diploma. Let’s keep the good work going.

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