Statewide hearings set on new school policies _lowres

State Superintendent of Education John White said Wednesday public forums will be held statewide on how Louisiana plans to comply with a new federal education law called the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The state will offer online “parent guides” to help families understand annual letter grades given to public schools and districts, state Superintendent of Education John White said Tuesday.

The grades are set to be released on Thursday.

They are mostly a reflection on how students fared on key tests.

White said separate guides will be available for elementary, middle, combination and some high schools.

They will provide information on what it means to be an A, B or C school; explain various achievement levels; show how minority and other subgroups of students did and spell out 2014-15 results compared to 2013-14.

“The guides that the department are releasing acknowledge that parents need good information regarding the performance not only of children but schools and school systems,” White told reporters.

The results will mark the first time students in grades three through eight were quizzed in earnest on Common Core, which represents revamped academic benchmarks in reading, writing and math.

They will eventually show how Louisiana students did compared to students in other states.

During the move to Common Core, the overall distribution of letter grades is supposed to stay the same as for the 2012-13 school year.

Officials took the action amid fears that, without a safety net, tougher academic standards would cause grades to plummet.

Last year, 28 percent of schools were rated D and F, the same as the previous year.

In the first three years the state issued the grades, the state had 44 percent, 36 percent and 28 percent of schools rated D and F, respectively.

Individual student reports for this round of scores were issued Nov. 9-13.

In October the state Department of Education issued letter grades for most public high schools.

The grades were at an all-time high amid improved student performance and controversial bonus points.

The state Department of Education website is www.louisianabelieves.com.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.the advocate.com/politicsblog/.