CABL Is Working to Improve Louisiana’s Public Schools
CABL PreK-12 Education Policy Priorities
Improve School Board Governance, Establish Clear Roles/Responsibilities for Superintendents and Principals on Personnel – CABL strongly supports policies that delegate authority and responsibility for personnel decisions to the appropriate district leaders - not school boards - in line with best practices recommended by governance studies and national organizations. These policies include: reducing board micro-management; establishing the superintendent as CEO for all personnel and operations while holding him/her accountable for results; giving principals authority to hire a strong faculty based on student needs; and removing state RIF or salary mandates based solely on seniority so districts can attract and keep high quality educators. These common sense policies are of critical importance to school leaders’ success and for true public accountability.
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Increase and Support High Quality Teaching – CABL supports efforts to insure quality instruction and good teachers for all children, no matter where they live. This includes requiring a statewide rigorous and fair educator evaluation system that also incorporates professional development, rewards, consequences and tenure reform. In conjunction, CABL also supports using classroom performance to base salary levels and RIF policies while allowing districts to create incentives for effective educators. Teach for America and TAP are also important strategies for low-performing schools. No parent wants their child to be in a classroom with an ineffective teacher, even for one or two years.
Improve School and District Leadership – CABL is currently engaging in efforts to identify challenges and solutions for local district and school leaders, including in the areas of support, development and recruitment. High performing schools, no matter the socio-economic background of the students, have strong principals and instructional leaders.
Higher Expectations Through Better Standards – Louisiana’s standards for students, such as reaching minimum grade level or being prepared for college, are relatively low compared to other states. Higher expectations for learning are critical if more students are to eventually succeed in life and in career training or college – not only to compete in the U.S. economy, but for high-skilled, high-wage jobs in Louisiana. One way the state is raising achievement is through adoption of the Common Core [“CC”] standards. Initiated by the National Governors Association and adopted by 45 states, the “CC” has been designed by educators incorporating clear, consistent and more rigorous teaching and learning standards, teacher support, extensive student feedback, and technology. Louisiana is phasing in “CC” over a two-year period while phasing out LEAP/iLEAP. CABL supports transitioning to the “CC” but recommends giving teachers and students proper time and support before any new tests based on “CC”are used.
Provide Varied and High-Quality School Options for Parents Based on the Needs of Students -- As part of a “tool box” of strategies to help as many students as possible while systemic reforms grind forward, CABL supports expanding successful public charter schools and also giving nonpublic school scholarships to students who are assigned to ‘D’ and ‘F’ public schools and come from low-income families. Parents should also have options such as academic, language emersion, and high-tech/career magnet schools. To better prepare more students for careers and college, CABL also supports giving high school students access to specialized, in-demand or advanced courses not currently available in their public schools (i.e. course provider program, dual enrollment). All school and course options should have sound authorizing guidelines and strong academic accountability.
State Recovery School District for Chronically Low-performing Schools – This means rigorous RSD school standards for student progress, having community advisory boards, and protecting a strong BESE process for returning schools to local boards that is based on student achievement, willingness/stability of the RSD school, and local school board factors.
Increase Readiness for College and Career Training, Better Meet Workforce Needs—For over a decade CABL has and continues to advocate for effective dropout prevention strategies, increasing access to high-quality and in-demand courses (i.e. course provider options, dual enrollment), and expanding AP courses and career-tech collaborations. Meanwhile, Louisiana’s workforce needs for a better educated and trained citizenry remain at a near-critical state.
Increase Access to High Quality Pre-K for At-Risk Students—CABL has been an advocate for more early childhood programs for well over a decade. It also supports recent legislative and BESE efforts to insure the quality of all publicly-funded pre-K programs (Head Start, nonpublic, district, state) through more consistent and higher standards appropriate for young children, and, letting parents know how well the programs serve children.