The Louisiana boards that oversee K-12 schools and higher education set a goal Wednesday that by 2029 every high school graduate in the state will have either a college-level course or an industry credential under their belt.
Only about half of the most recent set of graduates fit that description. Officials do not yet have a roadmap or funding source to reach the new goal.
“We feel like we need a goal, an aspiration, that our agencies can rally behind,” said John White, the state’s K-12 education superintendent.
Legislators this year stopped short of approving Gov. John Bel Edwards’ initiative to make free dual-enrollment classes (which provide high school and college credit) available to all high school juniors and seniors. Instead, they created a task force to study the issue, including how to pay for it.
Dual enrollment availability varies widely by school district, said Kim Hunter Reed, Louisiana’s higher education commissioner. Currently, $17.4 million is set aside in the state’s K-12 funding formula for dual enrollment courses.
Reed said “appropriate seed dollars” would be needed to work toward universal access but did not commit to an amount or a funding mechanism. She said the Board of Regents’ funding request for higher education to Edwards’ administration included a “placeholder” for dual enrollment.
“We look forward to a conversation about the appropriate way to make that request,” Reed said.
The boards also approved moving forward with two pilot “extension academies,” also described as a “13th grade,” in north and southwest Louisiana. The academies provide opportunities for college credit, industry certification and job placement, White said.
Members approved a similar academy in New Orleans during a previous joint meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Regents in June.