A major racial gap continues in who takes high school classes for college credit, an education consultant told Louisiana public school and college leaders Wednesday morning.
Studies show that 22% of Black students take the classes — called dual enrollment — compared to 42% of White students, according to Adam Lowe, a consultant with Education Strategy Group, which is based in suburban Washington, D. C.
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In addition, the percentage of students enrolled in the classes drops as the percentage of Black students in a school rises, Lowe said.
Schools with Black enrollment up of to 20% have 46% taking dual enrollment courses while those comprised by up to 80% of Black students include only 28% taking classes for both high school and college credit.
“We have some things to celebrate and some significant work to do,” Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed told the gathering.
The issue surfaced during a nearly-two hour meeting of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana Board of Regents.
BESE oversees public schools statewide.
The Board of Regents sets policies for colleges and universities.
The two boards typically meet jointly twice a year.
The latest snapshot dovetails with what previous reports have said.
Black students make up more than 40% of the public high school population, or nearly double the dual enrollment participation.
State leaders are trying to make dual enrollment a bigger presence in high schools since Louisiana has long lagged behind other states in the number of students who earn college credentials.
Studies show students who take the classes are more likely to enroll and finish college.
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The state’s 2029 goal is for all high school graduates to earn college credit or an academic or career and technical credential or both.
During the 2018-19 school year, the last academic year before the coronavirus pandemic, 32% of public high school graduates took at least one dual enrollment course.
Lowe said eight public school systems feature dual enrollment participation by 50% or more of its students, including the St. John the Baptist School District, 67%; St. James, 65%; St. Martin, 51% and St. Tammany, 51%.
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High schools where more than 75% of graduates took a dual enrollment class include Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Thomas Jefferson High School for Advanced Studies and Haynes Academy School for Advanced Studies, all Jefferson Parish; Early College Academy in Lafayette Parish and Thrive Academy in East Baton Rouge Parish.
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