Carter said he believes the governor’s commission will help guide a robust discussion about the way Louisiana will implement the newest version of federal education guidelines.
“There is no single path to excellence in public education,” Carter said. “The governor’s advisory panel brings classroom teachers, school boards and superintendents to the table. We are education’s first responders, and we have ideas to share.”
Also serving on the governor's advisory panel is Jordan Thomas, an LFT vice president from Shreveport.
ESSA is the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which sets guidelines for the ways that federal funds are appropriated to the states. The law came under heavy criticism several years ago when it was called No Child Left Behind. Educators called it a test-and-punish style of reform that tended to inaccurately and unfairly label teachers and schools as failing.
Louisiana’s plan to implement ESSA is expected to be finalized early next year, when it goes before the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval.
Some areas to be determined in the new plan include a reduction in standardized testing, improving teacher training and tweaking the way schools are graded.
“Most teachers agree that our students are overtested, and that the results of the tests aren’t always used appropriately,” Carter said. “It is encouraging to see that plans are underway to limit standardized testing.”
Carter also had positive things to say about proposed changes to teacher preparation that include a residency. He cautioned, however, that funding must be in place to ensure the long-term success of the program.
The LFT interim president said that the state should rethink the current grading system for schools.
“Assigning a single letter grade to schools does not give parents all the information they need,” Carter said. “School reviews should be based on a number of factors that have a bearing on student success.”