4-Year Cohort Graduation Rates Released
The Orleans Parish School Board and Recovery School District have released the latest 4-year cohort graduation rates. The citywide 4-year graduation rate was 72.1% for the class of 2016,1 a drop of 3.3 percentage points from 2015. Twenty percent of the students who did not graduate in four years remained in school and were enrolled for a fifth year in the fall of 2016.
Statewide, the graduation rate fell from 77.5% to 77%.
While the graduation rate of 72.1% is a huge improvement from the 54% graduation rate in 2005, these results are still disappointing. We are not graduating 1 in 4 students, even including students who take longer than 4 years to graduate, and the gap to the state average is getting larger, not smaller.
Need to Get Better
The unification of the schools under OPSB represents a new chapter in public education and the opportunity for some new strategies. To improve the graduation rate, we need to:
- Begin using data to identify drop outs in real time. By October, we can identify students who should be enrolled in school but are not. This information needs to be generated by the central office, as any individual school does not know if a student has dropped out or decided to attend another school. Once we know in a timely fashion which students dropped out, the district can partner with schools and other agencies to find these students and get them re-enrolled.
- Diversify our high schools. We need more alternative high schools to better address struggling students’ needs. We also need more high schools that offer meaningful career-technical education for interested students.
- Work to expand access to mental and behavioral health care for students before and during high school. Schools cannot do it alone.
- Improve our K-8 performance, as discussed below.