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Willie Smith, BRCC chancellor, left, and Superintendent Sito Narcisse chat after a Dec. 14 press conference about increasing the number of college-level, dual enrollment courses that high schoolers in Baton Rouge take, both academic classes and career-and-tech focused classes.

All children deserve an encouraging, enriching and developmentally appropriate education. For far too long, we have entrusted their futures to those who pave over the truth with absurdity.

Most recently, this has come by way of attacks on efforts by Superintendent Sito Narcisse to give more students access to dual enrollment courses and industry-based credentials. This initiative, called Pathways to Bright Futures, not only offers high school students college credit and an industry-based credential, it opens the door to a high-wage job after high school.

By easing college’s financial burden and student loan debt, Dr. Narcisse is working to mitigate economic barriers that keep many students from attending post-secondary education and can prevent students’ future financial success and prosperity. The truth is that this can all happen while taking absolutely nothing away from students who have long enjoyed, appreciated, and welcomed opportunities that set them up for a bright future.

The definition of absurdity is fighting against this opportunity for more students across the district.

Narcisse is staring in the face the truth about student graduation rates and college attendance and completion data. The truth is that we are not preparing students for lifetime success, and we should be. Dr. Narcisse isn’t the only one who thinks so. Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed, Baton Rouge Community College Chancellor Willie E. Smith Sr., Southern University President-Chancellor Dr. Ray L. Belton, and LSU President William F. Tate IV have all publicly endorsed this effort and I commend them for their leadership to give more students access to opportunities that can be nothing short of life-altering for them.

The concept of the American Dream — “that every citizen of the United States should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative” — is clear and present in the Pathways to Bright Futures proposal. I have zero doubts that our students have what it takes — hard work, determination, and initiative — to succeed and achieve prosperity. Our job as adults is to pave that way through opportunity and access.



Baton Rouge

Letters: Parent: Truth on program was hidden behind what Sito Narcisse said