Louisiana ranks 44th in the United States for overall public education performance with a D+ grade, compared to a C for the country as a whole, according to a new Education Week analysis. The publication’s 2015 Quality Counts report, which graded states on student achievement, finances and pre-school enrollment was released Thursday.
For the category of chance of student success, which examines 13 key indicators over a child’s life, the state received a C-. That’s compared a C+ national average. The indicators include average parental employment, pre-school enrollment, high school graduation and others.
In parental employment, Louisiana is 41st in the country. About 71 percent of children have at least one parent working full-time, all year, researchers said.
The state fared much better in its pre-school enrollment, with more than half of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in early childhood programs. That puts it at 10th in the country.
Rankings fall, though, for high school outcomes. Only 72 percent of the Class of 2012 graduated, making Louisiana 46th.
School finances received a C, on par with the national average. Analysts used 2012 figures to determine the relationship between school system funding and local property wealth, disparities in spending across all school systems and per-pupil expenses, among other indicators. That year, adjusted per-pupil spending in Louisiana was $12,375, slightly higher than the national average.
But on the student achievement index, the state fared worse, receiving a D-. The national grade in this category is a C-.
The Education Week report covers public education in elementary and secondary schools and does not factor in private schools. About 19 percent of Louisiana students attend private schools, third-highest in the country after only Delaware and Hawaii.
Much of the data used is from 2013, which means that Louisiana’s score in this category is unchanged from the previous year’s report. Researchers again pointed out that the state ranks near the bottom on national reading and math assessments.
Advanced Placement student test scores also rank last in the country. Only five in 100 students score a 3 or higher on the exam, the score that earns college credit.
Nationally, Massachusetts scored the highest in student achievement, while Mississippi ranked last.