NOLA.com / The Times Picayune
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber says local schools are making progress, but not enough.
BRAC has been on a push this week to release information supporting the organization’s legislation to restructure the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, and on Thursday presented its annual school “report card.” The report provides a by-the-numbers look at various data from local school districts, ranging from the letter grade school performance scores, to graduation rates.
“The data in the report card shows that dramatic changes are still needed, especially in East Baton Rouge Parish,” BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp said in a statement.
East Baton Rouge Parish School System officials have consistently argued that they are making significant progress, and are on the verge of becoming a B-rated district. They recently released new data comparing their students’ standardized test scores to other urban districts, which showed that, for more affluent students, East Baton Rouge compares well.
Here is some of the data noted by BRAC:
- East Baton Rouge saw its school performance score rise by 2.6 percent in 2012-13, a higher percentage gain compared with most districts in the region, but lower than Iberville, East Feliciana and Ascension.
- East Baton Rouge, a C-rated district, ranks 45th in the state in school performance scores, out of 74 districts. Zachary Community School District ranks first, Ascension ranks 3rd, and Central Community School District ranks 9th. The Baker district ranks 68th, and the East Baton Rouge schools in the Recovery School District rank second-to-last at 73rd.
- East Baton Rouge’s scores have improved at a rate higher than the state average over the last five years, with a 4.5 percent gain.
- About 48 percent of students in the Baton Rouge area (extending beyond the East Baton Rouge district) attend A- or B-ranked schools. But two out of 10 attend D- or F-ranked schools, including four out of 10 students in the East Baton Rouge system.
- Only 75 percent of students who applied at magnet schools in the East Baton Rouge system were assigned to the schools. However, East Baton Rouge has increased the number of students assigned to the magnet school seats by 24 percent for middle schools and 22 percent for high schools.
- About 66.1 percent of East Baton Rouge students complete high school in four years. That number has seen steady growth since 2009, but still lags behind the Louisiana average of 72.3 percent.
- About 18,000 students in the Baton Rouge region dropped out of school between 2009 and 2012. The number is slightly lower than the state average.
- Louisiana required for the first time in 2012-13 that all juniors and seniors take the ACT. Scores overall in Louisiana dropped by 0.8 points, while East Baton Rouge scores dropped by a steeper 1.7 points.