[StBernard] EDITORIAL: Louisiana's high school redesign efforts look promising

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Mar 13 11:14:17 EDT 2007

EDITORIAL: Louisiana's high school redesign efforts look promising

Periodically, the press office will publish editorials and columns that feature Governor Blanco's work in various areas.

The Shreveport Times (online)

: EDITORIAL: Louisiana's high school redesign efforts look promising
Published: March 12, 2007

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would do well to adopt the newest recommendations that Gov. Kathleen Blanco's High School Redesign Commission has made.

Commissioners suggest curriculum and testing changes to address student preparation, competitiveness, dropout rates and readiness for college or the workplace - building upon the successes of the past and addressing head-on the challenges of the present.

To paraphrase the governor: Change is never easy but it must be embraced in order to produce results. Improvement is critical to both the present and the future, to the individual student and to the state's long-term health. There is indeed no greater antidote than education to poverty and so many other societal ills.

Elements of the commission's recommendations include:

* Requiring a fourth year of math for high school graduation. (The highest level of math attainment is the strongest predictor of bachelor's degree attainment. Also, living wage jobs with career advancement require math and problem solving skills.)
* Implementing LA Core 4, a curriculum required for students, starting with the ninth-grade class in 2008-09. (Connects to curriculum to admissions to most colleges.).
* Strengthening the Career-Technical Diploma Endorsement.
* Implementing end-of-course tests that will replace parts of the Graduate Exit Exam, beginning with the ninth-grade class of 2009-10.
* Implementing further initiatives for dropout prevention and recovery.

Blanco is putting her money where her mouth is on this one. She has pledged $16 million in the upcoming state budget for the High School Redesign proposal and an additional $30 million to boost the Pre-K program to start students on the best path to become successful in high school and beyond.

She will also be proposing teacher pay raises to bring Louisiana up, for the first time, to the Southern regional average salary rate. She cites an economic forecast that predicts such educational improvements could cut the income gap for future generations as much as 75 to 90 percent "and move Louisiana from the bottom in states' per capita income to the top third or fourth."

Election-year rhetoric issues aside, Louisiana education must always be a front-burner issue for the state's leaders and citizenry. BESE and Louisiana's new superintendent of education, Paul Pastorek, should give serious consideration - followed by prompt action - to the good work of the High School Redesign Commission.


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

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