Louisiana ranked third least educated state

Halen Doughty

Louisiana is the third least educated state in the nation, according to a new report from the personal finance website WalletHub. The study looked at a number of metrics including high school graduation rates and gender gaps between educational attainment.

The report ranked Louisiana 47th for the percentage of high school diploma holders and 46th for the percentage of bachelor's degree holders. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzales said Louisiana ranked low for both educational attainment at number 48 and quality of education at number 47.

"In terms of Educational Attainment, the state has the 4th lowest percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma at 84 percent and the 2nd lowest percentage of adult with at least some college experience or an associate's degree at 50 percent," said Gonzales. "When it comes to the Quality of Education, Louisiana has the 5th lowest public high school graduation rate at 79 percent. It also has the 3rd lowest projected college graduation rate for 2020 at 52 percent."

Gonzales said the low ranking is concerning because poor education outcomes can lead to bigger problems. She said education contributes to a better future such as more career opportunities, higher earnings and less chances of unemployment.

"Poor education usually causes more economic problems for a state, as well as higher unemployment rates. Residents living in a state with a low quality of education generally struggle with poverty and productivity," said Gonzales.

Louisiana received middle-of-the-road rankings in some areas, coming in at number 33 for the average university quality. The state ranked 34th for the racial gap in educational attainment. But Gonzales said there were some metrics in which the state did well.

"Louisiana ranked well for its small gender gap in educational attainment, since there are more female bachelor's degree holders than male," said Gonzales.

Although as a whole the state underperformed in this report, schools in Ascension Parish continue to raise the bar for education in Louisiana. Ascension schools received an A ranking for the sixth year in a row on the School Performance Scores released by the Louisiana Department of Education. The department's report ranked Ascension Public Schools as the fourth best in the state.

While Ascension Parish Public Schools have continued to receive high marks, Gonzales said there is more that can be done to improve education in Louisiana and raise our ranking on these reports.

"Tackling the high school dropout rate would lead to more diploma and degree holders overall. Investing in alternate high school programs, whether online or out-of-home, would certainly help," said Gonzales.

Find the full report from WalletHub at https://wallethub.com/edu/most-educated-states/31075/

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