BATON ROUGE: The Louisiana Department of Education today posted for public comment a draft of the state's plan to set higher expectations for learning and to invest federal funds in local plans for improving where schools and students are struggling. The comprehensive plan complies with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
In addition to posting the draft state plan for public comment for a 30-day period, the law requires state education agencies to consult with governors prior to the submission of the plan. A copy of the plan was hand-delivered to the office of Governor John Bel Edwards today.
Since June 2016, the Department has held numerous meetings with the public and with interest groups, receiving comment from more than 200 organizations and over 1,000 individuals. The Department has also previously posted two versions of a "framework" for the plan--the first in September 2016, the second in February 2017--for additional feedback.
ESSA's provisions become effective July 1, 2017. Per the law, the United States Secretary of Education must approve or deny a plan within 120 days of a state submitting its plan to the U.S. Department of Education. Because completion of the plan prior to the start of the school year in which it becomes effective is critically important for Louisiana administrators, educators and parents, Louisiana commenced public development of its plan more than a year in advance of the law taking effect.
Following receipt of further public comment and Gov. Edwards's review, the Louisiana Department of Education will present the state plan to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) at a special-called meeting on March 29, 2017, and will submit to the federal government a draft of the plan on or prior to April 3, 2017, launching BESE policy making and federal dialogue processes that will be completed in advance of the start of the school year.
"Louisianans have been working on this plan for our students for nine months," said State Superintendent of Education John White. "We have five months left to complete the job prior to the start of the school year. Now we enter another phase of the process. I'm looking forward to further input from the public, Governor Edwards, BESE members, and the Secretary of Education."
The draft plan is available on the Department's website, and the public is invited to submit further feedback at any of the Department's upcoming public meetings or by emailing the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.