Louisiana Dropout Rates Fall Amid Reforms

Reprinted from Nola 

Photo Credit: Chris Granger

Annual high school dropout rates fell in Louisiana last year, according to data released Thursday by the state Department of Education, with both public districts operating in New Orleans posting their third straight year of declines. Results across the metro area, covering grades nine through 12 for the 2010-2011 academic year, came in mixed. Jefferson Parish, which has one of the highest percentages of students dropping out in the state, saw its dropout rate tick higher, although it's still below what it was three years ago. St. Tammany's dropout rate inched up a bit as well. And in St. John the Baptist Parish, which saw a dramatic decline the year before, the dropout rate jumped.

St. Bernard, Plaquemines and St. Charles parishes all saw declines.

The statewide numbers point to a continuing trend. The annual dropout rate offers a snapshot of students dropping out in any given year, but any one jump or decline can mask the broader pattern. The state's so-called cohort dropout rate offers a more comprehensive picture, tracking the percentage of students who entered the ninth grade four years ago who did not graduate on time. Louisiana's cohort rate, released back in October, has been improving since the 2007-2008 school year, falling from 18.6 percent to 14.6 percent last year.

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