Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law SB 297 by Sen. Jack Donahue, which transfers the adult education division from the Louisiana Department of Education to the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS). Additionally, the new law provides measures to discourage 16 year-old students from dropping out of high school and directs them to enroll in a GED program with demonstrated positive outcomes, if they choose to leave.
Governor Jindal said, "This new law will help to further couple adult education with job training. Indeed, moving the services to LCTCS will better serve adult students and provide them with more access to job counseling and training resources."
LCTCS President Dr. Joe May said, "I want to thank Governor Jindal and the Legislature for working together in passing this important legislation that will greatly impact the more than 600,000 people in our state who do not have a high school diploma or GED. LCTCS welcomes the challenge of continuing to provide as well as expand the adult education program offerings to those who so desperately need it through our colleges, existing providers, school districts, and community based programs. It will be an absolute privilege to serve those who are willing to change their lives through education and we look forward to preparing them for the job market and providing our state with an even brighter future."
SB 297 provides a shift in adult educational services to serve adult students and provide them more access to career counseling and job training resources they might not have at a high school. Adult education programs are designed to assist adults in becoming literate, obtaining knowledge and skills for employment and self-sufficiency, and completing their secondary school education. This bill will incorporate job training curriculums that fall outside of the Louisiana Department of Education's normal mission, and place them under the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
Currently, many 16 year-old students who are likely capable of earning a high school diploma opt to enter a GED pathway. In some districts, approximately 20 to 25 percent of GED Options program students are 16 years old, and many of these students are not obtaining a GED or skills to be successful in the workplace. Under this law, school districts are also only allowed to enroll 16-year-old students in adult education programs if they have a record of strong performance.