The top education official in the state will be a guest at a Lafayette Parish School Board workshop tonight to discuss the wide array of education policy changes affecting public school districts across Louisiana.
According to a release from the state Department of Education, State Superintendent John White is set to talk about the Louisiana Believes plan, which contains a vast set of reforms aimed at increasing student achievement. Among the new measures are more rigorous school and district accountability systems under the federal No Child Left Behind (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) waiver, a transition to Common Core Standards and the implementation of the state’s new and sometimes controversial teacher evaluation system.
The state superintendent has faced pointed criticisms from some school board members across the state who have already heard White’s speech on the new plan. His most recent Louisiana Believes talk, held Tuesday before the Tangipahoa Parish School Board, had “White on the verge of stuttering,” according to a recap from Action News 17:
Others questioned him about the new voucher program that allows students who qualify to attend private schools and charter schools, including schools that teach religion and even believe in creationism.
They said the program takes money from public schools that are already struggling financially. White basically said he didn’t care about the financial drain on public schools so long as the voucher students get an education.
He also said he is not keen on teacher certification. Anyone who is a college graduate and who is proficient should be allowed to teach, he said.
Board member Andy Anderson, a retired educator, countered that integrity is the foundation of the public education system.
Integrity is achieved through teacher training, said Anderson, who has tangled with White on the certification issue before. “That’s how schools get stronger,” he said.
Anderson has said that having uncertified teachers in the classroom is like going to a doctor who has no medical degree.
White’s presentation begins at 5:30 p.m. It’s the only agenda item listed for the Lafayette Parish School Board’s workshop.
The meeting is open to the public and will take place in the board meeting room at central office on Chaplin Drive.
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