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While leaders agonize over teaching negatives of American history, Louisiana continues to lag behind rest of nation


While leaders agonize over teaching negatives of American history, Louisiana continues to lag behind rest of nation

Yesterday’s announcement by Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley that there were no plans for teachers in Louisiana’s public schools to “indoctrinate” students by teaching them about this country’s history of slavery or Jim Crow or the civil rights struggle of the 1960s falls right in line with a LouisianaVoice story of last July 24.

In that story, I quoted State Rep. RAY GAROFALO (R-Chalmette) who said, “There is no reason to make students feel guilty. We should teach the good things about this country.”

To paraphrase the late comic Brother Dave Gardner, “Dear hearts, that ain’t education, that’s propaganda”

I wrote in that July post that Garofalo would forbid the teaching of the Trail of Tears, or that women in this country weren’t allowed to vote until the 20th century, or that enslaved blacks were considered 3/5 of a person. That last provision, by the way, was embedded in the US Constitution in Article I, Section 2 despite the Declaration of Independence insistence that “all men are created equal.”

That’s the same Constitution, by the way, that Rep. Lauren Boebert seems to think does not EVOLVE.

But back to the issue of what can and cannot be taught in Louisiana’s educational system and how Louisiana ranks in education achievement.

Out of 51 systems – 50 states and the District of Columbia – Louisiana ranks 50th in quality of education, ahead of only New Mexico, according to a WALLETHUB survey released last July.

WalletHub’s ranking of educated states had up just a nudge at 48th, ahead of only Mississippi and West Virginia among the 50 states.

Louisiana was 47th in the percentage of population with a bachelor’s degree (the next three were Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia), and 47th again in the percentage of graduate or professional degree holders (ahead of Arkansas, West Virginia, and North Dakota). Louisiana ranks 48th for Educational Attainment and 44th for Quality of Education.

The metrics for WalletHub’s rankings included adults 25 and over with a high school diploma; with at least some college; with a bachelor’s degree, and with a graduate or professional degree.

Louisiana has a dropout rate of 21.9 percent despite a per-student expenditure of $11,038. The state’s student to teacher ratio is 14.8:1 And while Massachusetts, the highest-ranked state, has a student to teacher ratio of 13.32:1, which is comparable to Louisiana, that state spends $15,593 per student and has a dropout rate of 11.7, 10 points lower than Louisiana’s.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks Louisiana 48th overall of the 51 systems, including the District of Columbia. The only states with lower rankings, in order, are South Carolina, Mississippi and New Mexico.

That survey has Louisiana ranked 48th in academic performance, 47th in bachelor degree rates and in high school graduation rates.

So, bottom line, it’s fine for Louisiana to wallow at the bottom of the pile in education attainment so long as we don’t tell students about slavery, genocide of Native Americans, the denial of the right to vote for women and blacks, and probably the Holocaust.

Hell, we may as well burn a few books along the way.

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