Higher standards a good move for state

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 20, 2001

Louisiana is applying a &uot;trickle-down&uot; approach to education, and it might just work.

The state’s Board of Regents for Higher Education have set some ambitious entrance requirements for college freshmen that will begin in 2005, ranging from higher grade point averages to higher minimum ACT scores.

For example, Louisiana State University students seeking the free state tuition offered through TOPS in 2005 will be required to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum ACT of 25.

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Moreover, they will be required to enter college having completed a minimum of 16.5 units of English, math, science and social sciences.

Those entrance requirements are likely to force secondary schools to set higher expectations, tougher standards and more challenging curriculums for students. In turn, those students are going to be expected to do better in school and, ultimately, in life.

The plan, according to state commissioner of higher education Joe Savoie, is an attempt to show that the regents understand the reality that education is the only way to beat poverty – a crucial concept for one of the country’s poorest states.

Until the leaders set the bar higher by raising expectations, students in Louisiana and elsewhere will not be asked to stretch, grow and learn.Until someone raises the bar for those non-overachieving students, they will never learn what they are capable of doing – or just what they are capable of learning. And until someone raises that bar, the standards of &uot;getting by&uot; will never be enough for the students, or the state, to &uot;get ahead.&uot;

Trickle-down education? It might just be a smart approach.