Lincoln Preparatory School was highlighted at the Joint Meeting of the Board of Regents and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meeting for success in dual enrollment. During the meeting, Dr. Kim Hunter-Reed, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education, and Adam Lowe, a consultant with Education Strategy Group, based in suburban Washington, D. C., presented the Louisiana Dual Enrollment 2021 Annual Report. According to a joint statement by Dr. Hunter-Reed and State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Cade Brumley, the report identifies five exemplary schools where 100% of graduates completed at least one dual enrollment course, as well as nine with 75% or higher minority enrollment, where 100% of minority graduates achieved the same.
Lincoln Prep was one of only four schools in the state that was recognized in both categories. Also, during the meeting, Dr. Brumley provided a report on the state’s new Fast Forward Initiative, designed to increase the number of students graduating high school with an associate’s degree or apprenticeship in a high-demand field. In 2021, only 150 more than 40,000 high school graduates earned both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. This year, nine of Lincoln Prep’s 37graduates earned associate degrees from Southern University at Shreveport.
The report was produced in response to a charge from the Dual Enrollment Task Force to Regents and the Department of Education in February 2020. They were asked to report annually on dual enrollment participation, performance, and equity at school and institutional levels. The report was based on the 2018-19 school year, which was the last year of complete accountability data before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to acknowledge progress, identify opportunities and illuminate persistent equity gaps, demonstrating their agencies’ commitment to advancing and improving students’ dual enrollment participation.
One of the key recommendations from the report is to “Close the Equity Gaps in Dual Enrollment Participation.” The report notes, “Students who participate in dual enrollment are more likely to transition to college, and their chances of success increase once in college. Yet the data show persistent racial and income gaps in dual enrollment participation, thus furthering equity gaps in Dual Enrollment Recognition Release – 06/18/2021 Page | 2 of 3college success. During the meeting, Lincoln Preparatory School Executive Director Gordan Ford spoke about the effort to increase minority participation in dual enrollment. Specifically, he noted four requirements to increase success in this area. Ford cites the following critical requirements:
1. A commitment to equity. It is not okay for schools and systems to provide postsecondary credentials to 42% or more affluent or white students and only 20% to economically disadvantaged students and students of color.
2. A commitment to excellence. Students cannot be allowed to fall victim to what former President Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” We must challenge them every day and not let them take the easy way out.
3. A commitment to breaking down barriers. In a state where 74% of the students are economically disadvantaged, and 52% are students of color, it is unconscionable that we allow a test that is known to be biased against those subgroups to control not only who gets into college but who gets state aid for college. While we are working to increase ACT scores, we must be committed to using every tool in our arsenal to get kids into college courses, regardless of ACT scores. Hopefully, one day does something about the7,000 otherwise eligible students that graduate in Louisiana and cannot access TOPS because of their ACT score.
4. Finally, we must be committed to expanding our comfort zone. In the past five years, Lincoln Preparatory School students have earned dual enrollment credits at Grambling State University, Southern University at Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University, Northwestern State University, and Louisiana Delta Community College. High school administrators must be willing to forge partnerships beyond their usual dual enrollment providers if they are genuinely committed to making gains with at-risk subgroups. This would include collaborations with more of our community colleges and our HBCUs.
Lincoln Prep is currently still accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year.
For more information regarding Lincoln Preparatory School’s dual enrollment or Early College Academy program, you may call the school office at 318-242-8788.
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