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Louisiana Ready for Change in State School Districts

Louisianians are ready for some fundamental changes in their state’s school systems, as reported in a recent poll from LSU. Fifty-two percent of those who responded to the poll said they were in favor of “fundamental” changes, while another 34 percent said they wanted the school system to be “completely rebuilt.” While it is obvious that these people want to see some changes, many do not know what form that change should take.

According to the poll, many Louisianians (58 percent) are in favor of paying teachers based on their performance in the classroom, instead of based on the number of years they have been teaching (32 percent). I think this change would a great idea and should be implemented across the nation, but many teachers unions tend to disagree on this touchy subject.

Another area that received much attention in LSU’s poll of more than 700 residents was charter schools. Seventy percent of the residents said they were in favor of opening new charter schools in the state. Many were also in favor of expanding existing charter schools as well. Louisianians want to allow charter school operators who have been successful in the past to open new schools; currently, this ability is reserved for the local and state school districts only. Read the rest of this entry »



School Districts with High Minority Populations Have Lower Graduation Rates

The national high school graduation rate increased by three percent – from 72 to 75 percent – between 2001 and 2008, according to a report by America’s Promise Alliance.

However, this is not as good as it sounds – at least for students who live in high-poverty urban districts. The report discovered that these districts have graduation rates below the national average.

What are these “high-poverty urban districts”?

“One county type stands out in sharpest relief… the counties with large African American populations called Minority Central, set heavily in the nation’s southeast,” according to a report by Patchwork National, a PBS-affiliated reporting project. “Those counties hold only about 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, but they hold more than 15 percent of the high schools with the highest dropout rates.”

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