It is no secret that Louisiana has long lagged in rankings of public education. Louisiana schools ranked 48 out of all 50 states by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. Still, the state has made strides in recent years to improve standings in some academic areas. According to Will Sentell in The Advocate, in 2018, the state reported an all-time peak in high school graduation rates (81%) and students pursuing dual enrollment (i.e., working towards college credit while in high school) more than doubled during the same period.
Recent school performance gains have come from focused efforts to improve the basics, but now it seems the state is willing to add more innovative approaches to achieve success in education.
Louisiana recently announced a new program aimed to help students take full advantage of their high school years, specifically that oft-ignored senior year.
Many students - and I count myself in that number - spend their senior year doing the absolute bare minimum. Louisiana has a plan to reenergize seniors out of their "senior slump" by offering them the chance to earn their associate degree while still in high school.
Pearson Accelerated Pathways allows high school students to get a head start on college courses at any time during high school. For students that are thinking about earning high school and college credit simultaneously, we could be a good fit.
According to Louisiana Superintendent Cade Brumley, "We know that the entry point of work now is seldom the high school degree. The entry point of work also requires a credential, an apprenticeship, an associate degree or a professional degree."
According to The Advocate, "Louisiana has long had small numbers of students who take classes for both high school and college credit - dual enrollment."
Louisiana school systems are smartly taking high school students that may be about to zone out on their educational journey and refocusing their attention on attainable dual enrollment. This gives students options to spend their final year of high school pursuing a simultaneous technical associate degree, an associate degree (which would allow them to start a 4-year college as a junior), or an apprenticeship to train directly for a career after school. With these types of programs, Louisiana has the potential to create a more able and trained workforce right out of high school.
It's a bold plan, and one that could revolutionize education in Louisiana. But, this concept is not entirely new.
Pearson Accelerated Pathways has been providing high schoolers with options to get a head start on higher education for more than 15 years. Accelerated Pathways student Alyssa wrote this post about what it's like pursuing a degree while in high school. Our program is backed by the most trusted name in education - Pearson - and we aim to accelerate education by giving students countless options to earn their degree. Find out more about how our program works and see if you might be a good fit.
Mariel is a writer, content strategist and marketer. Besides educational topics, she's also covered content on consumer trends, healthcare and wellness. Mariel has a knack for booking cheap travel and when she's not working, you just might find her searching for the best flights to Europe.