January 26, 2024
K-12 Education Policy Council
About the Council’s Work
The K-12 Education Policy Council was established at the request of Governor Jeff Landry to identify the problems that exist in K-12 Education in Louisiana and to discuss and propose solutions to those problems. This council was led by Eddie Rispone and Rebecca Boniol and included voices from across the political and policy spectrum in Louisiana. The findings listed below represent the recommendations made by the council.
Louisiana’s children have fallen behind.
Children in Louisiana are not receiving the education that they deserve. It is not for a lack of spending, as we spend more than all of our neighbors educating our children. Of late, our state’s answer to low achievement has been to lower the bar that students must clear to receive a diploma; that is not the answer that will fix the policy failures plaguing our education system.
- Ensure that parents are granted flexibility in their child’s education. All children, but particularly those attending failing schools, with special needs, or other extenuating circumstances, should be allowed to pursue an education that sets them up for success in college or the workforce.
- Encourage the utilization of high-dosage tutoring and remedial education to ensure that children are learning and are prepared to take the next step, particularly in literacy and foundational numeracy. Teachers shouldn’t be penalized for identifying and remediating a struggling student; they should be praised.
Our accountability system is not working.
Louisiana’s K-12 accountability system is confusing for parents and does not accurately measure and report student learning. Public schools should deliver a quality educational experience and prepare students for an increasingly demanding economy and workforce.
- BESE should pursue adjustments to the state’s assessments and accountability system to ensure that school performance is accurately measured and reported to the public.
Attract, retain, and reward quality teachers
Teachers deserve to be valued as professionals and receive competitive compensation. They should receive high-quality initial and ongoing trainings, be mentored and supported by strong principals and instructional leaders, be empowered to use instructional time to meet the learning needs of students, and be rewarded for high performance.
- The council recommends bolstering teacher recruitment efforts currently underway and providing flexible state funding for teacher compensation to allow school systems to meet their greatest local workforce needs (e.g., critical shortage areas, exceptional performance, leadership positions, high-need schools).
- Allow portability in the teacher retirement system, encouraging professionals who want to become teachers to utilize a 401k system and continue growing their existing retirement investments. Also allow new teachers the option of choosing the 401k system so they also have flexibility in their careers.
- Louisiana’s schools and educators face time-consuming requirements that divert focus from primary educational goals. The council recommends legislative action to streamline these requirements, enabling schools to prioritize teaching and learning for the benefit of students.
- Examine unnecessary licensure burdens for educators and would-be educators, understanding that professional experiences can be more valuable than licensure processes in many cases.
Expand educational options
All Louisiana families should have the ability to place their child in a school or educational program that meets their individual needs. For each type of school or program, the state should ensure proper use of funds for educational purposes and meaningful information about students’ academic progress.
- Maintain existing homeschooling freedom; also encourage new educational options like co-ops, micro schools, and pods.
- The state should expand educational options, enabling high schoolers to receive career and technical education in addition to traditional high school education.
- Restore charter school autonomy by streamlining the application and authorization process, allowing charter schools to return to their innovative roots.
- Examine facility funding needs for nonprofit charter schools, ensuring that students have access to high quality facilities to continue their academic careers.
Allow increased access to early childhood care and education
Louisiana has a matching incentive fund that enables local communities to partner with the state to address early childhood care and education needs.
- Any additional funding provided for this purpose should be allocated through this special fund, ensuring that the investment and commitment is shared with those closest to the need where viable long-term solutions can be provided.