The COVID Impact

While Louisiana students as a whole have shown promising recovery in reading and math, that progress is not uniform across districts, and East Baton Rouge is one of the parishes lagging behind many of the other districts across the state. 

The Education Recovery Scorecard by Stanford and Harvard shows that EBR students are a year and a half behind 2019 levels in math scores and half a year behind in Reading performance.

This research comes at a pivotal time for post-pandemic recovery as ESSER funds end in September. EBR Schools received $223 million from the American Rescue Plan, a once-in-a-generation lump sum to help students recover from the learning disruptions of the pandemic. Louisiana’s experience underscores the uneven impact on education and the importance of transparency to address achievement gaps and ensure equitable recovery. 

The pandemic was such a huge disruption on education.
How do we know if students are caught up?

New multi-year research from Stanford and Harvard shows that although Louisiana as a whole has made some positive strides since the disruption of education during the pandemic, East Baton Rouge lags behind many other parishes in Louisiana and districts across the United States.

What was EBR’s portion of those funds, and how do I know where they were spent?

The EBR school district received $223 million of the $4B in American Rescue Plan funds provided to Louisiana. When these funds were being allocated by the previous board, there was lack of public engagement that led to issues of transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, we still do not have enough students reading on grade level or fluent in math, and too many schools are not meeting their mark.

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What strategies actually succeeded in helping students recover the learning lost during the pandemic?

The funding EBR received due to the pandemic was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in the future of our students. Access to tutoring, summer learning  and after school care are critical resources for improving academic success and backed up by best practice recommendations, including the Education Recovery study by Stanford and Harvard.

How do I, as a parent, make sure the school board doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the prior board and instead focuses on funding proven student-centered initiatives?

EBR School Board meetings are open to the public and public comment. We also continue to maintain our firmly held belief that transparency is the cornerstone of good governance. As the board begins their budgeting process, we encourage them to formally invite parents and educators to provide meaningful feedback about their students’ experiences. We also encourage you to check out our latest Red Stick Schools Guide to learn more about the status of your student’s school and the choices available.

Where do EBR students stand when it comes to math scores?

The Education Recovery Scorecard shows that EBR students are a year and a half behind 2019 levels in math scores. This is well below the state average. Jefferson and St. Landry Parishes had math outcomes similar to EBR. Parishes with notable improvements include Rapides, Lafayette, and Calcasieu.

Where do EBR students stand when it comes to ELA (English Language Arts) scores?

Students are faring better in reading scores than in math, but EBR students are still a quarter grade level behind average scores since 2019. Livingston and Tangipahoa Parishes scored lower than EBR while Jefferson and Ascension scored higher. 

Wasn’t there a lot of federal money given to districts to kelp kids catch up?

ESSER stands for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Congress approved $190 billion in federal funds through the American Rescue Plan for K-12 schools across the country during the pandemic. Allocated funds must be used by September of 2024 or returned to the federal government. For East Baton Rouge, these funds have already been spent or encumbered prior to the current school year.