When running for mayor, Adrian Perkins emphasized that public education was important to the future of Shreveport.
Many questioned whether city hall should venture into the shark infested waters of Caddo public education.
Skeptics noted that the city’s budget and the school boards were basically the same, that the city had too many other pressing issues, and that this was the responsibility of the school board not the mayor.
But who said Perkins could not assist public education without spending any city funds? No one.
Guess what? Perkins has done just that.
At a press conference this week, Perkins was joined by Caddo Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree and University of New Orleans (UNO) president Dr. John Nicklow in announcing that qualified Caddo students will be automatically eligible to attend UNO upon graduation from high school. Although he downplayed his involvement, Goree praised Perkins as the catalyst for the Caddo Instant Admit Program.
Goree says that Perkins reached out to him after taking office. In a subsequent meeting with Goree, Perkins re-affirmed his desire to improve opportunities for current and future residents to obtain college degrees. Goree reports that Perkins then reached out to the UNO president to form a partnership with Caddo schools. And from there, the process started with a call to Goree from Nicklow.
Caddo Parish students are automatically admitted to the University of New Orleans if they meet three minimum requirements: graduate from a Caddo Parish public high school with a 2.5 GPA; have a 19 in Math and 18 in English on the ACT (or its equivalent on the SAT.); and submit an application for admission. There is no application fee.
Additionally, students who qualify will be automatically considered for one of the university’s academic scholarships that range from $2,000 to $5,000 a year for four years.
The agreement goes into effect immediately.
Goree emphasized that this program provides a pathway for students seeking a college degree. He said it will be particularly helpful to first-generation college-goers.
Nicklow emphasized that multiple educational opportunities for UNO students. He also noted that UNO graduates rank in the top 25 colleges nationwide for the smallest college debt upon graduation. UNO’s undergraduate enrollment is over 6500 students.
Goree is hopeful that other colleges will join in similar programs with Caddo.
Low key, as usual, Perkins deflected any praise for his involvement. But as many citizens are now realizing his educational background and military service opens many doors for him that will be benefit to Shreveport.
Hats off to Perkins, Goree, Nickow, and all the others that pioneered this great opportunity for Caddo students. Hopefully, more will follow.
(This article was published in The Inquisitor on Thursday, February 21, 2019)