In their first feedback, federal officials Friday asked state Superintendent of Education John White to provide more information on Louisiana's plan to revamp public schools.
The request is spelled out in a nine-page letter signed by Jason Botel, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Education. The changes are the state's response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. The federal law is supposed to boost student achievement and aid students from low-income families and those with disabilities.
The state was directed to supply the information within 15 days.
The letters notes that, if state officials seek more time, federal officials may be unable to give a final answer to the proposal in the required 120 days.
The plan was approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on a 7-4 vote in March and submitted to federal officials in April.
One of the key features would change the way the state measures annual student gains, which will have a significant impact on annual letter grades for public schools. The revamp would also trim state-mandated tests but not as much as critics favored.
Earlier this week two independent groups that reviewed the state's blueprint mostly praised the plan.
In their letter, federal officials sought more information or clarifications on about two dozen topics.
The list includes how the state plans to handle its licensing system for school principals, ensure that homeless children have access to extracurricular programs and measure quality in elementary grades.
The work was done by peer reviewers, who make recommendations to the U.S. Department of Education.
After a marathon hearing, the state's top school board Wednesday night approved state Superi…
Sydni Dunn, press secretary for the state Department of Education, said the feedback is part of the process and that five states heard from federal officials on Friday, nine altogether.
Backers said Louisiana's plan will make public schools more rigorous.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and other critics pushed for more time to discuss details of the proposal, and a September submission.
Louisiana was one of 17 states that submitted plans in April.
The new rules are supposed to take effect for the 2017-18 school year.
While the state plan has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Education the controversy is not over in Baton Rouge. BESE in August is set to consider all-important rules that go with the changes, which is expected to re-open arguments.
Backers touted the ESSA as a law that would give state officials more latitude in setting public schools policies after the strict rules of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.