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Louisiana's Dropout Crisis


n. a student who withdraws from high school after having reached the legal age to do so.

As Louisiana faces a current economic recession, the value of cultivating a skilled and educated workforce becomes that much more important to our state’s future success and prosperity.

However, only 65.9% of the state’s 9th-graders graduate within four years, ranking Louisiana 44th in the nation in graduation rates. The staggering statistic of Louisiana’s dropouts is more than a problem – it has become a state crisis.

The impacts of high school dropouts reach far beyond finding and keeping a sustainable job. Individuals who drop out of high school earn less than high school and college graduates, have higher unemployment rates, and are more likely to live in poverty and engage in crime. Plus, over their lifetimes, high school dropouts from the class of 2006 alone will cost Louisiana and its economy $6.5 billion in lost wages.

The future of Louisiana’s economic success and competitiveness in a global marketplace depend heavily on its high school students graduating on time, prepared for work or postsecondary education.

Local, state and national leaders agree that the time is now to reverse the dropout crisis. As it takes a community to raise a child, the current dropout initiative seeks to band together individuals, families and community leaders and rally around the students who are slipping through the school system daily.

Read more about Louisiana’s Promise Dropout Summit 2008 and the Picard Center’s role in the crucial initiative to reduce Louisiana’s high school dropout rate and increase its graduation rate.