Public high school students enrolling in college rose by 6 percent last year and 16 percent since 2011, state officials said Thursday.
Students from low-income families and minority youngsters accounted for half of last year’s increase, the state Department of Education announced.
“The numbers are positive but not surprising,” state Superintendent of Education John White said.
“We have raised expectations through more challenging standards, the ACT, Advanced Placement, dual-enrollment courses and Jump Start,” White said.
Among the changes White cited was the implementation of Common Core, which is hotly debated, as one of the reasons for the boost in students attending college.
The superintendent backs the overhaul in reading, writing and math.
It took full effect for the current school year.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and other critics plan to push for legislation in the upcoming session that would scrap Common Core and the exams that go with it.
The session begins on April 13.
White also mentioned the state’s relatively new requirement that all 11th-graders take the ACT, an assessment of college readiness.
AP classes and dual enrollment allow students to earn college credit while in high school.
Jump Start allows school districts, colleges and businesses to jointly offer career courses and workplace experience for high school students.
Of the class of 2014, a total of 22,972 graduates enrolled in college that fall, up 1,228 over 2013.
That figure is a record high for the state, the agency said.
The Lincoln Parish School District had the highest rate in the state — 75 percent of its graduates enrolled in college last year.
That school system was followed by the West Feliciana, Central, Orleans, Bossier, Ascension and Zachary districts.
Jindal said he will push to replace Common Core and, in the meantime, use grade-level expectations from 2004.
“Any initiative that takes us back in time, any policy that takes us back in time, is not doing right by our state,” White told reporters.
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