[StBernard] Preparing Louisiana high school students for success

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Mar 13 10:47:08 EDT 2007

A column by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco

Louisiana has a bold plan designed to enable all youth to graduate from high school prepared to succeed. Our state is poised to raise our education system and the aspirations of our children to a new level.

During my first year in office, I partnered with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Regents to create the Commission on High School Redesign. In 2005, I committed Louisiana to the American Diploma Project Network, making Louisiana one of twenty-two states pledging to prepare all high school students for college and work. I secured funding to support our high school redesign effort and worked with the legislature to address this critical area.

Today, Louisiana has a plan offering true reform. To improve student performance, we must raise expectations. We are aiming high because Louisiana children have proven they can meet higher goals than asked of them in the past.

Louisiana's High School Redesign plan is a targeted approach to ensure academic excellence. First, we must focus on the 9th grade year and provide the early support needed to prevent drop-outs. And, we will improve the technology available in Louisiana's classrooms.

Second, we will strengthen our career and technical program and connect students with opportunities to acquire career skills while enrolled in high school.

We will eliminate the Graduate Exit Exam and replace it with end of course exams to ensure the quality of high school courses. School performance will be measured by student results.

Finally, we will increase graduation requirements by mandating four years of math and by beginning every student in a Louisiana Core Curriculum that maximizes the now wasted senior year.

If we adopt these recommendations to reform our high schools - and if we provide students with extra support in that crucial 9th grade year - we can cut our drop-out rate in half. This means more of our students will graduate with the academic and technical know how to succeed in school and in life.

I am determined to see this plan succeed. My budget will include $16 million dollars to fund this proposal and I won't stop there.

I will expand Louisiana's investment in early education. I'm proud to be the first Governor to invest state funds in Pre-K enrollment. We can see the positive results in academic achievement for the children enrolled in the Pre-K pilot programs. My budget therefore will build on this success by further expanding Pre-K enrollment.

The combined increase of investments in Pre-K on the front end - and high-school redesign on the back end - will form powerful bookends for our K-12 education system.

Children will begin their school years with an improved readiness to learn. And they will conclude their high school experience well prepared to go to work or to further their education.

In the coming days I will share with you my full budget which will provide a lasting legacy to our children.


The Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation
Louisiana's Fund for Louisiana's People

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