Urban League of Louisiana documents “opportunity gap” for African American, Hispanic, low-income, and students with disabilities related to access, academic outcomes, advanced courses, and more
(BATON ROUGE, LA) Today at a press conference in Baton Rouge, the Urban League of Louisiana released Advancing Educational Equity for Public Schools in Baton Rouge, an extensive report that examines several key metrics through an equity lens and identifies gaps in outcomes and access based on publicly available data from www.LouisianaBelieves.com. Several education stakeholders were present to give remarks while discussing the report findings.
The report documents an “opportunity gap” for historically disadvantaged students in the areas of student outcomes, school climate, school access, teacher quality, discipline, and more. A few of the findings from the report:
- In 2019, there were great disparities in performance on state assessments by race and ethnicity.
- High school students in Baton Rouge public schools perform at levels below the state average on the LEAP 2025.
- As school poverty rates increase, the percentage of students who meet or exceed ACT benchmarks decreases.
- Less than 50% of Hispanic students earn any form of diploma or credential.
- 36.7% of white students earned a diploma with an Advanced credential, compared to 6.1% for African American students.
- More than half (52%) of African American students enrolled in public schools in Baton Rouge attend “D” or “F” rated schools.
“The inequities that economically disadvantaged students and students of color are facing is concerning but we now have information analyzed in a way that allows us to begin addressing it,” said Judy Reese Morse, President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana. “Inequities in access, quality, and excellence exist across the Baton Rouge public education system and African American and economically disadvantaged students deserve our community’s determination and dedicated action toward providing them with equitable opportunity. The Urban League of Louisiana is eager to spark collective action and is committed to working in close partnership with the community and education leaders in Baton Rouge to utilize the findings of the report to design and implement solutions.”
“The EBR School system commends the Urban League of Louisiana for commissioning this report and we share the vision that every child deserves the opportunity to receive a high-quality education,” said Adam Smith, Associate Superintendent of Schools. “Our district has made significant gains, and we will also be the first to admit that we are not where we want to be, but we are committed to the ongoing communication and collaboration with key partners that will be essential in moving our schools forward.”
Dr. Pamela Ravare-Jones, Chief Administrative Officer from the Office of the Mayor-President spoke on behalf of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “This report is a transparent collection of qualitative and quantitative data that echoes Mayor Broome’s vision of inclusion, peace, prosperity and progress for the city of Baton Rouge. We must be strategically intentional. We must be deliberate in the breaking down of silos. As the city of Baton Rouge becomes more intentionally grounded in educational equity, we will reach our goals and will tear down silos while helping the students of Baton Rouge excel.”
Dana Peterson, Deputy Superintendent of External Affairs for the Recovery School District commented, “This report is a great rallying call for us. It’s important that we continue as an education community to come together and have honest conversations and dialogue. We won’t let our differences bring us down, no matter what side of town we come from. We all believe that students deserve a high-quality education. As we move forward strategically, we must create new school models, programs and an environment to foster innovation. I’m proud to know that we have plans in place to address these issues.”
The press conference concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Ted James, Director, Urban League of Louisiana Baton Rouge Office featuring Baton Rouge Education stakeholders:
- LaMont Cole, East Baton Rouge Councilman, District 7
- Dr. Lisa Delpit, retired Southern University Professor
- Ethan Melancon, Policy and Research Project Manager, Baton Rouge Area Chamber
- Chris Meyer, CEO, New Schools for Baton Rouge
- Dr. Quentina Timoll, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, East Baton Rouge Parish Schools.
Looking forward, the report encourages policy makers, community members, educators, administrators, non-profits, parents and business and civic leaders to use the findings of the report to work toward building an education system that serves all students equitably.