With deadlines looming, Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to meet Tuesday with state Superintendent of Education John White amid wide differences on how to revamp Louisiana's public schools.
The gathering is set for 8 a.m. at the Governor's Mansion.
The issue is what changes the state plans to forward to the U.S. Department of Education to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The most pressing topic is when to submit the state's proposal.
White favors doing so next month, which he said most parents and teachers favor to ensure changes are in place by the start of the 2017-18 school year, not at mid-year.
He said Monday that sending the proposal to federal officials merely starts the dialogue, and changes that eventually show up in the classroom will require approval from the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education later.
Edwards, and a task force he named, wants to delay finalizing the state's plan until September to allow more discussions.
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The governor has had the state's outline for about 30 days and, under the original deadline, was expected to finalize his conclusions by Wednesday.
Whether that timetable will change is unclear.
"As far as any conclusions, that is going to be part of the discussion tomorrow morning," Donald Songy, the governor's education policy adviser, said Monday.
While Edwards and White often differ on key public school issues, White noted that the meeting Tuesday is the latest in a series.
"We have been having very good conversations with our two offices," White said. "I wouldn't expect this to be any different. The governor has been very generous with his time."
BESE is set to hold a special meeting on March 29 to discuss the state plan. Songy said he will present Edwards' views on the issue at that meeting, which begins at 1 p.m.
Whether BESE will vote on the plan is also undecided.
The federal law requires states to show how they plan to measure academic skills and report those results.
In a key change from current policy, White wants 25 percent of school performance scores to stem from annual academic growth.
Under current rules, those gains account for 7 percent of scores, and only applies to struggling public school students. That proposal has been endorsed by the influential Louisiana School Accountability Commission.
However, last month nine education and business groups said what White wants would distort how students are faring.
The test scores are the basis for annual public school letter grades.
The governor's task force, which includes teacher union officials and other allies of the governor, favors more sweeping changes than those proposed by White.
It said the state should consider dropping public school letter grades, overhaul annual teacher evaluations – both would require changes in state law – and reverse state plans to gradually raise academic standards. The group also wants to end annual science exams in grades three through eight, which the superintendent opposes, and an end to annual, state required social studies exams.
The task force favors state-mandated science exams only in grades five and eight.
White said Monday science and others tests are required by state law. "Our plan just reflects the laws of the state," he said.
Songy said reduced testing will be one of the topics at Tuesday's meeting.
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White is believed to have the authority to submit the state's plan, with or without the blessing of the governor or BESE. He said the plan sent to Washington, D.C. will include input from the governor, BESE and the Legislature.
"You would be foolish not to have a process that at least tries to involve every element of our government structure," White said.