Calls for a delay in plans to revamp public schools are coming from the same "establishment" education groups that have helped block tougher school standards for five years, state Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday.
"At some point moving to a higher expectation means moving to a higher expectation," White said.
The superintendent made his comments during a 50-minute meeting with the editorial board of The Advocate.
He did so on the same day that the Louisiana School Boards Association – one of the targets of White's criticism – called for a five-month delay in submitting school overhaul plans to the U.S. Department of Education.
The group, which represents local school boards statewide, also criticized six points of the plan recommended by White.
The superintendent wants to send the proposal to federal officials so it can be in place at the start of the 2017-18 school year.
But the association, in a memorandum to Gov. John Bel Edwards, White and members of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said too many questions remain to finalize the state's outline next month.
The LSBA, which is often aligned with the governor, favors a September submission. "There is no benefit to the state to submit the plan early," according to the three-page message.
White told editors the LSBA, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Association of Educators, and the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, have put up similar roadblocks since 2012 to put off tougher academic standards, and how students are measured, to move in line with the rest of the nation.
He said that, despite a 2012 state law that requires revamped academic benchmarks and measurements, the LSBA and others have repeatedly sought delays by arguing that the changes would spark chaos in the education world.
"Every time some of the same people were urging a delay then," White said.
The result, he added, is that crucial school performance scores, which are linked to school letter grades, continue to be scored generously by keeping the marks on a curved system.
White said putting off changes sparked by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act would have the same impact.
"One more year of delay to a process started in 2012," according to a two-page summary of the issue by the state Department of Education.
With deadlines looming, Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to meet Tuesday with state Superintenden…
BESE is set to hold a special meeting on March 29 at 1 p.m. to consider White's plan, including when to submit it.
Local superintendents, including some who are set to meet with Edwards the day before the BESE gathering, also favor a delay, as does the governor.
After more than a year of public hearings, forums and debates, key questions remain on just …
The LSBA said half a dozen issues remain unresolved, including how federal education dollars are spent, how annual academic growth is calculated in public school letter grades and when results are provided to local school districts.
White wants to use 3 percent of federal dollars for rural, high-poverty school districts.
In its memo, LSBA officials said withholding dollars would cause problems because local districts, which formerly provided 35 percent of education costs, are now responsible for about 50 percent of school expenses.
"The proposal to withhold an additional 3 percent of federal funds from every school board is, therefore, very troubling," the memorandum says.
Two key members with the LSBA, executive director Scott Richard and president-elect Lee Meyer Sr., served on a task force named by Edwards that recommended sweeping changes in public school operations, and well beyond what White favors.
The memo was sent by Richard.
State education leaders, allies of Gov. John Bel Edwards and even teachers are embroiled in …
The panel endorsed reductions in state-mandated science and other exams and suggested an overhaul in how public school teachers are evaluated.
BESE on Wednesday will be asked to consider White's plan with a key caveat: No rules to carry out the changes could be approved before June at the earliest.
The state plans to gradually raise standards so that, by 2025, students will have to do better on key tests for schools to land an "A" rating.
The federal law was passed in 2015.
"A state should be able to get its act together a year and a half after it passed," White told editors.