BATON ROUGE, La. -Today, Superintendent White delivered a speech at Chateau Estates Elementary School in Jefferson Parish to describe Louisiana Believes 2013-2014, the state's plan to improve and expand educational opportunities for students, support educators, and empower families. Louisiana Believes 2013-2014 outlines specific initiatives for the coming year and how they connect to the overall vision of Louisiana Believes, introduced in June 2012. The speech touched on the state's achievements over the last year and outlined five priorities for the coming year: unifying the early childhood network, empowering teachers to teach through collaboration and support in the form of an online toolbox, improving outcomes for students with disabilities, ensuring career education leads to careers, and partnering with districts to end F-rated schools.
"In 2012, Louisiana legislators laid the foundation for much needed improvement, and as a result of this dedication and the hard work of educators and families, Louisiana has made progress. While this progress is a step in the right direction, our kids continue to trail their peers across the nation. There is still work to be done to ensure Louisiana students are college and career ready. Louisiana Believes is, at its core, about achieving success by believing in children and the families and educators closest to them," said State Superintendent John White.
In this speech, Superintendent White touched on the courage demonstrated by Louisiana legislators to pass bold reforms during the 2012 Regular Legislative Session. These critical initiatives set education in Louisiana down a new path and brought about a new vision for student achievement. Last year, more students graduated than ever before, and fewer dropped out. Schools saw results as ACT and Advanced Placement scores increased, and more students were on grade level. This foundation has set a precedent for success and raised the bar for the year ahead.
Senator Conrad Appel, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee said, "Louisiana may be proud to know that we are the internationally acknowledged leader in education reform. Our reforms are being copied by states all over America. We all recognize that it will take many years for us to see the whole benefit from the efforts that we have made in such a short time. It is sad, but really we had no choice - failure to act was no longer an option. Today is a new day for our young people. Instead of being trapped in a system in which the majority of them would have been doomed to failure, now they have an incredible opportunity to grow and prosper. Success is no longer an illusion, it is an expectation."
"Through the enactment of bold education reforms, we are fundamentally transforming Louisiana's public education system," said State Representative Stephen Carter, Chairman of the House Education Committee. "We can no longer accept a public school system where failure and a lack of choice for parents is the status quo."
In describing Louisiana Believes 2013-2014, Superintendent White touched on current challenges and long-term goals for improvement, and he introduced proposals to meet the needs that remain. These include:
Unifying the Early Childhood Network. Only half of Louisiana's youngest learners are kindergarten ready. To address this challenge:
- Pilot networks will identify every 3- and 4-year old in their parishes, will educate all 4-year olds, will measure children's progress, and will train all teachers. By 2015, the network system will be in effect statewide, covering all early learners.
Empower Teachers to Teach. For too long, Louisiana students have trailed their peers across the nation. To address this challenge:
- Free educators to learn the new, rigorous standards and end top down curriculum; provide a classroom support toolbox with resources created by educators for educators and train 2,000 Louisiana Teacher Leaders who can provide additional support to their peers.
Career Education that Leads to Careers. Only 19% of Louisiana students that enter college graduate, and too few students graduate from high school career-ready. To address this challenge:
- Reshape the Career Diploma to form a true technical education, requiring two years of workplace-based or technical college education while in high school.
Partner with Districts to End F-Rated Schools. More than 63,000 children in Louisiana attend schools rated F. To address this challenge:
- Expand partnerships to turn around F schools and to create alternatives to F schools. This will include the Achievement Zone in East Baton Rouge; charter partnership in Jefferson and Lafayette; Recovery School District in Caddo; and a Louisiana Believes fund to match districts willing to overhaul F schools.
Louisiana Believes 2013-2014 is an ongoing and collaborative effort across the state to improve outcomes for our children. The proposals outlined in today's speech will be announced in additional detail over the coming months. If you are interested in learning more about Louisiana Believes or the topics discussed by Superintendent White please click here to access a PowerPoint presentation or visit Louisianabelieves.com to view a recording of today's speech, available Thursday.