In his first definitive comments on the issue, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Friday denounced state Superintendent of Education John White's plan to revamp public schools.
"Unfortunately, I believe the state plan you provided represents an incomplete vision for Louisiana," Edwards said in a three-page letter to White dated March 21.
The governor said he wants a five-month delay in submitting the plan to federal officials, not an April submission as White favors.
He said the superintendent's proposal fails to seize on a chance to delay letter grades for public schools, does not go far enough in trimming school tests and lacks transparency for taxpayers.
"The state plan you provided does not prioritize clarity or simplicity of understanding," according to the letter.
The message raises the stakes when the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meets Wednesday at 1 p.m. to consider the changes, which have been in the works for more than a year.
It also reignites a simmering feud between Edwards and the superintendent he vowed to fire during his 2015 run for governor.
White, in his own statement issued late Friday afternoon, said part of the governor's stance would again delay the state's drive for higher student expectations.
"For four years, political processes have impeded raising the bar in evaluating the performance of Louisiana's schools," he said. "This must come to an end. We cannot delay any longer."
The proposal is required by a federal law called the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.
Whites' plan would revamp the way public school letter grades are calculated. It would also put public schools on a course for more rigorous academic standards, and change the way student performance is measured.
The superintendent wants to submit the outline next month because he says the new rules need to be in place at the start of the 2017-18 school year, not in the middle.
Edwards said in his letter that 34 states plan to send in their plans in September, not next month. "I urge you to follow their lead," he wrote.
The motion BESE will consider would allow the plan to be submitted to federal officials next month.
However, it would also prevent the state board from enacting all-important rules that would implement the changes until June at the earliest . White and BESE President Gary Jones, who lives in Alexandria, say that will allow more time to hash out differences during the federal review.
The president of Louisiana's top school board said Wednesday he favors submitting the state'…
Edwards also chided White for failing to take advantage of a part of ESSA that allows states to take two years of accountability data before issuing grades for public schools.
"Louisiana should follow the lead of other states that plan to pilot accountability systems for a year before determining the success or failure of schools," he said.
The governor is a longtime critic of public school letter grades, which are issued annually.
White, in a meeting Thursday with the editorial board of The Advocate, complained that teacher unions and others have put the state five years behind where it should be in how students are graded.
Calls for a delay in plans to revamp public schools are coming from the same "establishment"…
The governor's denunciation of White's proposal comes three days after the pair discussed the issue in a meeting at the Governor's Mansion. Both sides called the gathering cordial, and said that more discussions would ensue.
Without giving any details, Gov. John Bel Edwards and state Superintendent of Education John…
However, some local school superintendents, the Louisiana School Boards Association and other allies of the governor have stepped up their criticism of the state plan.
While the superintendent said his agency held 136 meetings on the plan, the governor downplayed their value. "It is not just one stakeholder group that believes their needs are not being met by the existing state plan, it is the overwhelming majority," he said.
The governor and White often disagree on key public school issues.
However, the two have had what officials on both sides call a mostly amicable relationship since Edwards took office 14 months ago.
BESE hires and fires superintendents and the governor only has three appointees on the 11-member board.