Louisiana education leaders want more high school students to take courses that earn them college credit, and are hoping a new digital portal that launched last week will help increase the number of Black students in Louisiana taking dual enrollment courses. The Advocate’s Will Sentell reports that only about 1 in 5 eligible students participate in dual enrollment, and that participants are disproportionately white. A 12-member state task force has been working on ways to expand access, and the new portal – www.ladualenrollment.com – is the first part of that effort.
Critics contend eligibility rules, including meeting benchmarks on the ACT, which is supposed to measure college readiness, are one reason relatively few Black students pursue dual enrollment. … About 65% of enrollment is White students and 27% Black students. Under current rules, some students have to have a high school GPA of at least 2.5, earn a composite score of 19 or higher on the ACT and score at least a 19 on the math portion of the ACT and an 18 on the English section to qualify for dual enrollment. (Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter) Reed emphasized that some of the college classes do not carry those rules, and the portal can help students see that. Those benchmarks are under review by the state Board of Regents.
The case for a scaled-back Build Back Better
If a scaled-back version of the Build Back Better bill were ever to get the blessing of Sen. Joe Manchin that lets it move through the U.S. Senate, the bill likely would not include the expanded Child Tax Credit, which helped to dramatically reduce the child poverty rate in 2021. But it would still likely include provisions that expand access to affordable child care and new investments in fighting climate change. Elliot Haspel of the Robins Foundation, writing in The Washington Post, says these provisions would still bring long-term benefits to children and parents:
Consider child care, which — including pre-K and all other care settings — is both an essential work support and an educational service helping lay the foundation for a child’s future. Allowing parents, particularly mothers, a true choice in their work-care arrangements yields deep financial benefits. Recent research from Europe looked at the long-term effects of various family policies on mothers’ poverty levels and found that child care stood out as “a prime example of a social investment policy with returns later in the life course.” It was also the only policy studied that reduced the poverty gap between single and partnered mothers.
Louisiana could be a wind hub
The world’s two largest developers of offshore wind power are looking at Louisiana’s coast as a potential site for future projects. The Advocate | Times-Picayune’s Tristan Baurick reports that the Pelican State has gained an edge over Texas – which has stronger and more consistent winds – because of the interest in wind power shown by state policymakers serving on a state climate task force.
(Harry Vorhoff of the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities) pointed to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study that estimated a hypothetical wind project near Lake Charles would create about 4,470 construction jobs and generate $445 million in goods and services. Once constructed, the wind farm would support 150 jobs and an annual infusion of $14 million into the economy from operations, maintenance and materials. Many of the skill sets and resources required for offshore wind are already plentiful in Louisiana.
Columnist Bob Marshall is also bullish on the draft report from Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Climate Initiatives Task Force, but notes that it will require meaningful buy-in from industries and elected officials that have traditionally stood in the way of progress.
We have the first, comprehensive, progressive, publicly developed science-based plan for net-zero by any southern state, and one of the first in the nation. Is it perfect? Of course not; the dissents will be areas of fierce debate and, hopefully, compromise. But implementation is essential to our future here and will depend on voters making sure they elect people who support it.
Infrastructure and ‘making groceries’
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been put in charge of overseeing the new $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure law, and Louisiana politicians are already lining up to take credit for the projects it contains (regardless of whether they actually voted for the bill). Furman University sociologist Kenneth Kolb, in a guest column for The Advocate | The Times-Picayune, reminds us that road projects done wrong can do long-term, irreversible damage to neighborhoods and make it harder for people to take care of basic needs such as buying groceries.
The infrastructural mistakes of the past made it too easy for the biggest stores to crush neighborhood businesses. The roadmap of the future needs to restore the balance. We should rebuild more livable and walkable communities, what Tulane Geographer Richard Campanella refers to as “good urbanism.” Doing so will increase property values and reverse the decadeslong drop in population caused by the legacy of past highway policies.
Number of the Day
66% – Percentage of Louisiana’s carbon emissions that come from the industrial sector (Source: The Advocate)