Second Independent Report in Days Gives LA High Marks for Education Improvement Plan

For the second time in less than a week an independent national organization has praised the education improvement plan Louisiana submitted to the federal government as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed by Congress in 2015.

ESSA provides states with new flexibility to chart their own paths for educational improvement, but it requires all states to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education explaining how they will reach their goals.

The latest review of state plans is part of a new report from Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success, who convened an independent, non-federal peer review of the 17 state ESSA plans that have been submitted to date.

In the new report, Louisiana received high marks of 4 or 5 in eight of the nine categories that were reviewed.  According to the group’s release, “Louisiana has a high-quality plan that presents a strong vision for students in the state and it sets high expectations for results.”

It goes on to say our effort “is grounded in strong standards and assessments, it places a strong emphasis on academic proficiency and growth, and its clearly defined school-rating system will ensure that stakeholders, schools, and students will have a clear understanding of how schools are serving all children.” In a separate review last week, the Alliance for Excellent Education said “Louisiana’s new education plan is one of the most promising in the United States,” and it went on to give the state “green lights” in 11 of the 13 categories it reviewed.

Both of these reviews suggest that Louisiana’s plan to improve student achievement, while not perfect, is one of the strongest in the country and a clear step in the right direction for our students.

“The results of these reviews are extremely encouraging,” said CABL president Barry Erwin. “They provide strong validation that Louisiana’s policies to accelerate progress in student achievement are on the right track. They also repudiate the claims of those in the education establishment who suggested submitting this plan was an irresponsible political move. Clearly, the findings of these independent reviewers indicate otherwise.”

On a related note, the National Council on Teacher Quality reviewed another part of Louisiana’s ESSA plan, this one looking at how states ensure that low-income and minority students are not disproportionately taught by ineffective or inexperienced teachers.

While it did not provide a ranking or grading system, it did note strengths in each state’s plan. No state had more than the four strengths Louisiana received in that review.

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