Through the signing of an Executive Order Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards established an advisory council on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) - the new, bipartisan law that recently reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Louisiana Association of Educators President Debbie Meaux and Louisiana Federation of Teachers Chief of Staff Marcus Fontenot joined the governor as he made the order official.
“Governor Edwards is settling into the role of education governor that our state so desperately needs,” said LFT Chief of Staff Marcus Fontenot. “His inclusion of education organizations in the ESSA advisory council demonstrates that he respects the important part that teachers should play as we formulate policy in accord with the new federal education act.”
“The ESSA aspires to give Louisiana parents, educators, and communities a voice when it comes to decisions affecting Louisiana children,” said LAE President Debbie Meaux. “Thank you to Governor Edwards for acknowledging the importance of the input of these important public school stakeholders; this is the first step toward greater excellence in our state’s public schools.”
“I’m extremely happy to sign this executive order today as it stands to impact the children of the great state of Louisiana, and nothing is more important than their education,” Governor Edwards said.
Educators in Louisiana welcomed the end of No Child Left Behind and the beginning of a new era in public education when President Obama signed the ESSA into law late last year. Because the new law does away with federal mandates on everything from student assessment to teacher evaluation, it is now up to individual states to determine how the new law will be implemented. Governor Edwards officially announced his intentions to organize an advisory council of 15 at-large members, who will be responsible for conducting an extensive review of the ESSA in order to make recommendations on specific actions surrounding its enactment in Louisiana. Both teachers’ unions agree that committed teachers, school administrators, parents, and communities must all come together on any effort to design accountability systems that stand to impact the educational well-being of Louisiana’s public school kids.
“We are very pleased that leaders in Washington listened to our issues,” Fontenot said. “The new education act recognizes that a top-down, cookie-cutter approach to education is not in the best interests of our children and our communities.”
“With the proper implementation of this new law, we have a chance to get it right for Louisiana’s children. We are confident that these new mandates will restore the proper balance between the respective roles of the federal, state, and local governments, and we’re happy to see that Louisiana citizens will have more freedom when it comes to making decisions that best reflect the distinctive culture and unique needs of the kids who live here,” Meaux said.