The reading level of Louisiana students is below what they should be

Education advocates are calling for changes after figures show students are reading below the level they should be.

NEW ORLEANS — Education advocates are calling for changes after state figures show students are well below the reading level they should be at. They say this is another component of the city’s crime problem.

According to the State Department of Education, the fall 2022 report found that only 49.6% of K-3 students read at the grade level.

Erase the Board’s Ashana Bigard Says Kids Have Trouble

“When our children have mental health issues or stress, we expect them to study, read, and master the skills as if they didn’t,” Bigard said. “If a parent can have a steady job, an affordable rent, affordable food, and a decent wage, that will go a long way toward providing stability so the kids can focus and think.”

The State Department of Education reported that only 39.2% of kindergarten children read at grade level. That number is around 50% for first graders.
In 2020, that figure was 40.4% for kindergarten children and 42.3% for first graders.

Aretha Lewis, an advocate for parents and children, says schools need to be held accountable.

“Some teachers are capable of wanting to keep a student, but then their administration tells them they can’t keep anyone because it doesn’t make our numbers look good,” Lewis said. “Not many of these kids are ready to go into the workforce, not many of these kids are ready to go into post-secondary education and college.”

Both women are calling for all New Orleans schools to be audited. They say that drastic measures must be taken because the education system is failing children.

“The impact is for all of us when schools are not doing their jobs, but the biggest impact is the impact on young people and their futures,” Bigard said. “You’re going to have trouble filling out an application or keeping a job, a job that actually pays you enough to support yourself. You’re definitely not going to make it in college.”

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