The Goal of this effort is to:
- Focus public attention on the critical need to increase educational attainment in Louisiana to meet the state’s growing workforce needs.
- Raise awareness of the need to include equity as a key component in addressing not only workforce development, but the overall quality of life in Louisiana.
- Inform the work of the Louisiana Board of Regents and the four university postsecondary education systems in setting aggressive goals to increase educational attainment.
From the perspective of the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL), the success of all three of these efforts is critical to the future of our state. Louisiana is showing tangible and measurable progress in several areas with regard to education. Our high school graduation rate is improving, dropouts are down, the number of high school graduates entering postsecondary education is at an all-time high, and our improvement on scores of students taking Advanced Placement exams is the strongest in the country.
Nevertheless, we still lag in educational attainment compared to the rest of the country. For this reason, the state faces chronic long-term educational challenges that threaten our economic wellbeing:
- Louisiana ranks 46th in the nation in terms of adults with a bachelor’s degree or greater.
- It ranks 45th when it comes to the percent of its population enrolled in postsecondary education.
- The percentage of white versus African-American students enrolled in postsecondary education is reasonably close, but the percentage of African-Americans who ultimately attain a postsecondary degree is barely half of the white attainment level.
- We have the fourth lowest percentage in the nation of adults who have graduated from high school.
- We consistently rank either 48th or 49th in English and math proficiency as measured by NAEP.
- And we have the highest incarceration rate coupled with some of the worst health rankings in the nation.
Clearly, for Louisiana to reach its potential we have many significant challenges to overcome, but from CABL’s perspective it all begins with increasing the education attainment levels of all the citizens of our state.