BATON ROUGE, La. - State Superintendent of Education John White welcomes teachers back to a new school year with a special video message available online at www.louisianaschools.net or for download by clicking here. White praises teachers for consistently raising student achievement during the last decade and explains the important role educators will play in Louisiana Believes, the state's comprehensive plan for continued improvement.
"Louisiana has made significant progress during the last decade but more needs to be done to prepare students to graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and challenging careers," said White. "With greater accountability should come greater freedom and flexibility to achieve higher standards. So starting this year, the state will begin phasing out the state comprehensive curriculum and empowering school leaders and teachers with the ability to choose the content that will work best for their students."
White outlines several goals for the new school year:
Providing an academic pre-kindergarten program to ensure students are ready to learn when they enter elementary school.
Providing support to schools leaders to successfully implement Common Core State Standards and Compass.
Removing restrictive rules and regulations so teachers have the freedom and flexibility to teach students more effectively.
Expanding rigorous Advanced Placement work for high school students to prepare them for a college environment.
Extending choice to all Louisiana families by expanding course offerings to students and increasing access to career education including internships and apprenticeships.
Aligning the state's accountability system with higher expectations for mastery of rigorous academic work.
"We, as educators, have a choice this year," said White. "We can take this change as something that is happening to us, or we can seize the moment and put these tools and opportunities to work for our children. I have great faith in the educators in our state and thank them for committing to the work ahead."
About Louisiana Believes
Louisiana Believes, our state's comprehensive plan for continued improvement, starts with a simple idea: if you believe that all students can achieve a career or a college degree - and thus master the Common Core standards - you must believe in the adults who know and care for them. A true plan for change is not based on the dictates of governmental agencies; it is based on the idea that, given high standards, the people closest to students should have the power to choose what is right for the child.
About Common Core State Standards
In 2010, Louisiana adopted the Common Core State Standards, which define what students need to learn in English language arts and math at every grade level in order to graduate fully prepared for college or a professional career. The new standards are more rigorous, more focused on critical content, and more relevant to what students need to know to be successful after high school. Students will be measured on their achievement of these new learning expectations in 2014-2015.
Compass was created by Act 54 of the 2010 Regular Legislative Session and will be implemented this school year. For the first time, teachers will be evaluated, in part, on student learning. Half of a teacher's evaluation will be based on how much a student learned from one year to the next, and half of the evaluation will be based on observations by principals and administrators. These new evaluations will determine compensation, which was required by Act 1 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session.