Report: Black students most likely to attend ‘D’ or ‘F’ public schools in La.

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 11:14 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A recent state analysis of Louisiana schools reflects what numerous other studies across the country have found: poverty has a significant impact on student performance.

It also found that Black students are five times more likely than white students to attend a public school rated “D” or “F.”

The original request asked us to just look at the demographics of charter schools across the state and tie performance to those demographics, and we wanted to expand it to go beyond charter schools because we wanted to give more of a comprehensive evaluation of the state of the whole,” said Gina Brown, Performance Audit Manager. “And that’s why we included your charter schools, your traditional public schools, and your private schools in our evaluation. Now, private schools do not receive a letter grade for student performance. So when we bring up student performance, we were only looking at traditional schools and charter schools.”

The auditor’s office collected data on an estimated 775,583 K-12 students enrolled in Louisiana schools during the 2021-2022 academic year. Of those, approximately 48% were white, 37.8% Black, 8.6% Hispanic, and 5.6% represented other racial minorities. The facts of this brief have never been presented in this way before.

“And this is objective. This is just what is. This does not have audit findings. It has informational conclusions so there is nothing in here that is controversial. It’s just it’s what is,” said Brown.

The audit found 71% of students who attend Louisiana’s public schools are considered economically disadvantaged. Furthermore, it concluded that a school’s economically disadvantaged enrollment rate has a negative correlation with its academic performance.

“White students make up 74% of those schools for your ‘A’ schools, and Black students make up about 16% in your ‘A’ schools,” said Brown. “Whereas Black students make up about 81% in your F schools, and white students make up about 3.2% In your ‘F’ schools.”

“Parents don’t realize that I’m waking up and sending my child to school on their first day to an ‘F’ school,” said educational advocate Dr. Cathy Banks. “If you knew that, you would probably be more involved in the school or try to find out why is it that all the majority, not all, but the majority of Black kids end up going into a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ school that are in Black communities or low economic income areas.”

“Schools that perform worse tend to have higher enrollment of the students who are poor, and students who are black or of other racial minorities,” said Courtney Stevenson, Senior Research Methodoolgy. “While the schools that performed better tend tend to have lower numbers of poor students and higher enrollment of white students. And that trend is consistent in your area.”

“We can’t blame it on the parents, we can’t blame it on the teachers, you know some of it is a system and we just have to fix it all.,” said Banks. “This is the reason why we have so many ‘D’ and ‘F’ schools. And the only thing in the audit it doesn’t tell why this is happening. So we have to start working together; parents, teachers, administration, school boards and we have to work together to find out how we can get so many ‘D’ and ‘F’ schools off the list.”

“There are serious problems here, and if we’re talking about taking care of of the children, I mean all of them,” said Rep. Barbara Carpenter. “Those in public schools, those in charter schools, parochial school. It doesn’t matter, every child matters, and the dollar follows the child. So if you’re in these schools that are not performing, but they’re still being funded, we have a problem folks.”

“Some of these schools have been failing for 20 to 30 years and there’s nothing been done about it in the state of Louisiana,” said Banks.

“They’re tying this to poverty; like kids that are high poverty are going to your lower performing schools that happens to be a certain race in this state, but still it is tied to poverty,” said Brown.

“Education is the key to everything and them having access, and we are saying that we’re giving them access, but the access is failing them is creating a bigger problem that costs us more money down the line,” said Senator Regina Barrow.

“The majority of minority students in the state of Louisiana are in failing schools, either in a D or an F school,” said Banks. “We need to get to the why. Why are these schools, the majority of these schools falling. And that’s across the state of Louisiana.”

Other recent audits: