The president of Louisiana's top school board said Wednesday he favors submitting the state's proposal to revamp public schools next month, not the September target Gov. John Bel Edwards favors.
"I don't see any problem with going ahead and sending the plan in and continuing to work on the points that are issues," said Gary Jones, the new president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Jones, who lives in Alexandria, took part in a meeting Tuesday at the Governor's Mansion on school changes prompted by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.
BESE is set to hold a special meeting on March 29 to discuss the plan, including when it should be submitted to the U. S. Department of Education.
State Superintendent of Education John White says an April submission makes sense to ensure that new school rules are in place at the start of the 2017-18 school year, not in the middle.
Edwards and some local superintendents favor sending the plan to Washington in September to allow more discussions on hot-button topics.
Amid sharp divisions, a panel named by Gov. John Bel Edwards recommended Thursday that Louis…
The governor and White also differ on whether to reduce state-mandated science and other exams and how to spend federal education aid under the proposal.
State education leaders, allies of Gov. John Bel Edwards and even teachers are embroiled in …
The meeting Tuesday, which lasted about one hour, included Edwards, White, Jones, Erin Monroe Wesley, special counsel for the governor, and Donald Songy, education policy advisor for Edwards.
Jones said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in speeches on Monday, made clear that she does not expect state ESSA plans to have every 'i' dotted and 't' crossed.
"I think we can send it in April and have time between the time the feds are reviewing it to work out any technical modifications," he said.
Jones said that, in Tuesday's meeting, the governor noted that officials in about half the states plan to send their plans in September.
Some of those states have new state education superintendents, he said. White has held his post for the past five years.
"What makes Louisiana different is we have been looking at it for over a year," Jones said of new public school rules.
He added of the meeting, "We found some common ground. Over the next few days it is likely to result in some of the things he (Edwards) wants in there."
DeVos, in her speech Monday to the Council of Chief State School Officers, singled out White for praise. She said school chiefs can maximize the freedom and flexibility given states under ESSA.
"One of you who deserves recognition for his attention to this issue is John White, Louisiana's superintendent," DeVos said.
"John has led the charge in his state to protect the hard-earned reforms that have expanded school options for parents and, more importantly, gave students a learning environment that best fit their individual needs," she added.
Some of those changes DeVos referred to were enacted in 2012 under former Gov. Bobby Jindal, including expanding vouchers statewide and tougher tenure rules.
DeVos, then an education advocate in Michigan, spent hours discussing education policy with the then governor when he prepared his public schools overhaul, Jindal aide Timmy Teepell has said.