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New Louisiana study group promises work on education reform

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(The Center Square) — The Louisiana House K-12 Education Study Group held its first meeting on Monday, with the goal of helping improve Louisiana’s K-12 education system.

The chair of the committee, Rep. Roger Wilder, R-Livingston, and the other three house members agreed that the main goal of the committee was to pass legislation to improve education.

“We really want to make sure we are examining everything from A-Z on ways we can make our school systems better in the state,” said Andre Miller, who represented Gov. Jeff Landry’s administration at the meeting.

During the legislative session, there were conflicting ideas from lawmakers on how to improve the school system. What makes this advisory committee unique is the vast majority are superintendents, principals, teachers and school board members.

Now, the lawmakers can receive recommendations and suggested legislation from school officials via this committee.

Monday’s meeting was primarily an introduction, but the educators on the board collectively agreed on reevaluating the accountability system, both educational and disciplinary, for students and schools.

Right now, students can pass standardized tests and graduate with a low score, but the school is still heavily penalized for their scores. The educators argued it is difficult to encourage a student to take a test seriously under those guidelines, so the grading standard should be consistent for both educator and student.

There was also an agreement on fewer standardized tests and less pressure on the outcome of one day of testing. Several teachers testified that they’ll have A students who have a bad day or week of testing that sink the school’s state score, and therefore, collectively sinks the state’s national score.

Overall, the consensus of the committee is they want a unified structure to teaching and testing that provides consistency for their students learning habits and state-wide educational evaluations.

“Right now, this entire system seems like the accountability is disconnected from the reality of what you do,” Wilder said.

Despite focusing on the issues of the school system as a whole, at the end of the meeting the committee reminded itself why they must reevaluate the education system, the success of the children.

“The focus of whatever we come up with here has to be about students and student success,” said Michael Pedrotty, the principal of Elm Grove Middle School.