LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Louisiana graduation rates continue to rise.
Louisiana high schools had a graduation rate of 81.4 in 2018, a 16.6 percent increase since 2006, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Louisiana Department of Education.
The Board of Education also said that the 40,124 students that graduated in 2018 were the most Louisiana students to have ever graduated in four years.
“Every single child in this state needs a chance to succeed, I think that’s what our goal has been over these last several years, we’re getting there, we have a long way to go," said Senator Michael Walsworth, a member of the Senate Education Committee.
Louisiana’s African-American graduate rate has increased from 65.9 percent in 2013 to 78.1 percent in 2018, above the national average of 77.8 in 2017 - the last reported national number.
“While the nation’s African American high school graduation rate must be improved, we cannot accept where it is; Louisiana, which has the second highest percentage of African American students in any school system in the nation, now tops the national average," said John White, the State Superintendent.
The state graduation rate of 81.4 percent trailed the national graduation rate of 84.6 in 2017.
Southwest Louisiana parishes all showed significant increases since 2006.
Both Cameron Parish and Jeff Davis Parish led the state with graduation rates over 95 percent.
All Southwest Louisiana parishes showed year-to-year increases from 2017 to 2018, with the exception of Beauregard Parish. Beauregard, though, was coming off a year in which it led the area in graduation rates.
“You heard a lot of percentages today, and what I want you to remember is that there are a lot of people behind those percentages," said Dr. Holly Boffy, the Vice President of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. "There are children that are going to graduate with opportunities to go to college, or go into their careers, and be able to provide for their families and contribute in our state. And that is life changing.”