- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The number of high school graduates in Louisiana increased in 2014, the fourth straight year of improving numbers, prompting the state’s education superintendent to recommend that lawmakers halt efforts to overhaul a disputed federal testing and school accountability system.

The state released graduation rates on Monday for 2014 and the numbers were positive.

In 2014, 74.6 percent of students graduated on time, up 1.1 percent from a year before. Nationally, about 80 percent of students graduated in four years.

“Our state is making undeniable progress,” said state schools Superintendent John White in a teleconference with reporters.

He said the latest numbers back up his contention that lawmakers should not seek to scrap the Common Core system. Lawmakers this legislative session are expected to consider a plan to get rid of Common Core standards and replace them with a new system.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is a strong proponent of scrapping Common Core. Jindal is among several high-profile Republicans considering a presidential run who are opponents of the standards. The governor is pushing legislation to remove Common Core from Louisiana’s public school classrooms.

But White said the state should not “go back to the drawing board for another five years.”

Graduation rates have been improving for the past decade. The rate for 2014 is about 10 percentage points higher than a decade ago.

White said the brightest spots in the 2014 numbers were found with students with disabilities and those from families with low incomes. He said graduation rates were increasing in districts throughout the state.

From 2013 to 2014, the graduation rate for students with disabilities saw a 6.1 percent increase. Still, only 42.8 percent of students with disabilities graduated in four years last year.

Meanwhile, the state saw 2 percent more African-American students graduating on time, bumping up the graduation rate among blacks from 65.9 percent in 2013 to 67.9 percent in 2014.

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