Plan to include changes urged by school administrators and advocates.
a special meeting on Wednesday, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) endorsed Louisiana’s draft plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, and directed the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) to submit the plan to the U.S. Department of Education no earlier than April 15, 2017.
“Moving forward with the submission of our state’s plan for federal input is a critical step in ensuring that approval is received and policies are in place for the start of the 2017-18 school year,” said Dr. Gary Jones, BESE president. “This will provide clarity and consistency for families and educators prior to the start of school, as Louisiana continues on its track to higher standards and accountability measures.”
BESE further directed State Superintendent of Education John White, upon conclusion of the 30-day public comment period and in response to the public comments received, to incorporate the following into the draft plan:
· Starting in 2018, school scores will be calculated using the system of points the plan currently establishes for 2025, except that “basic” on the LEAP, 18 on the ACT, and Silver on the WorkKeys should earn schools “C” level points, rather than “D” level points.
· There should be no curve or forced distribution for letter grades starting in 2018.
· The plan should establish a threshold lower than 100 out of 150 to attain a “A” grade in 2017-2018 and should include modest escalations of that threshold in 2022 and finally again 2025. Corresponding adjustments should be made at “B” and “C” levels.
· Subgroup performance should be reported by percentile rankings in addition to academic performance; the plan should include a system of identifying low subgroup performance levels, including performance levels equivalent to D and F grades for that subgroup, as requiring “urgent intervention.”
· For reporting purposes, the plan should include a commitment to reporting letter-grade equivalents for the achievement indices and growth indices within the school rating system.
· Three percent of Title I funding should not be set aside for Direct Student Services but should be allocated to every district per the traditional Title I formula, provided that funds are spent in line with requirements for the supplemental course allocation. Furthermore, the LDE should study access to courses for students in low-income, rural, or struggling schools and may make recommendations in future years for intervention in schools failing to provide course access to students.
· The LDE should study and consider the effect on student learning of no longer requiring Biology and U.S. History end-of-course examinations, presenting findings no later than the June 20-21, 2017, BESE Committee and Board meetings.
· The Interests and Opportunities indicator should include a menu of means by which schools could demonstrate success; the LDE should convene school system administrators to develop the measures necessary to create this indicator.
Kevin Calbert, Communications Manager – Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education