La. Governor Bobby Jindal and State Superintendent of Education John White were in Geismar on Thursday to announce La.’s graduation rate of 72.3% - a percentage Jindal says is an all-time high for students completing 4 years of high school. These numbers represent students who have been attending high school since 2008, their freshmen year.

Governor Jindal said, “Since entering office, we have worked to reform and improve our education system to ensure that every child in Louisiana has the opportunity to get a great education. Indeed, we have eliminated ineffective programs and invested in programs that improve outcomes for students.

“These reforms are working for our students. Graduation rates have reached an all-time high and more students than ever before are better prepared for higher education or a job in the workforce. This is great news, but we should not declare victory yet. We will not stop working until every child in Louisiana has the opportunity to get both a great education and the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century workforce.”

This 72.3% marks a .9 percentage point increase over the previous year and a ten-percentage point increase over the past ten years. Superintendent White says this is the second straight year that La.’s graduation rate has increased.

“This increase in the number of Louisiana students graduating is a clear sign that the changes set in motion in the schools of our state are working. These steps, along with the dedication of educators and families, have produced great results,” said State Superintendent John White. “We will keep on improving, but we can never go back. There is never a reason to retreat from the commitment we have made to our kids.”

Unfortunately, in Lafayette Parish, the graduation rate did drop from 73.9% in 2010-2011 to 70.9% in 2011-2012. Click High School Graduation Rates for a list of how all the other parishes have performed.

Gov. Jindal outlined several reforms that have taken place while these students were in school:

  • Letter grades were issued to schools in order to increase accountability and give parents a clear, accurate picture of the performance of the school their child attends. The state now factors in graduation rates when calculating letter grades.
  • Ineffective dropout prevention programs were eliminated, including the Pre GED-Options program, which had a graduation rate of just 8 percent and replaced them with more effective programs, including Jobs for America’s Graduates, which has a 95 percent graduation rate.
  • The state instituted place rigorous standards that prepare students for college and careers.
  • Louisiana put in place the nation’s boldest plan for turning around low-performing schools through the Recovery School District, one of the fastest improving districts in the state with a graduation rate that is increasing rapidly, with an 8.9 percentage point increase from 2011 to 2012.