Every Student Succeeds Act: An Opportunity for States to Continue to Raise the Bar for Students


A routine review of Louisiana’s public school policies has sparked concerns that it will trigger a political battle over implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, Will Sentell reports for the New Orleans Advocate.

The Every Student Succeeds Act returns more control over education issues, including standards, assessments and funding, to state and local leaders, replacing No Child Left Behind. It was signed into law in December with bipartisan support.

To prepare to implement those changes, the Louisiana Department of Elementary and Secondary Education led a review of school policies. Separately, Governor John Bel Edwards tasked a panel with a similar purpose. The recommendations from those two groups could conflict, which could open the door to a potentially contentious battle over implementation.

“What I fear is you will have this group coming out with different types of things that are going to dilute or go backwards in the direction we are going on accountability,” says Barry Erwin, president of the Council for a Better Louisiana.

State Superintendent John White has repeatedly cautioned that the state can ill-afford another protracted battle over education issues. “We cannot return to a time when K-12 is the subject of daily headlines,” White said last week. “We cannot go back to the political squabbles of old.”

It is imperative that state and local policymakers use the moment to continue to build on the successes of recent years and to keep expectations high for students. Louisiana, like most states, has set its learning goals to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to achieve to graduate high school fully prepared for college and career.