Education leaders in Louisiana are looking at ways to improve public education, in compliance with a new federal law that goes into effect for the next school year. State Superintendent John White says the Every Student Succeeds Act is the first federal education law that’s been passed since 2001, and it requires states to outline a plan for improving education. He says he’s confident Louisiana can make great strides in education, as long as the students remain the focus of the discussions.

“We must not allow our debate to be distracted by the adult issues that for too long have characterized not just public education, but many realms of public policy in our state,” White said.

During Governor Bobby Jindal’s second term, White was involved in a very public spat with Jindal over Common Core academic standards.

White says Louisiana is making strides in education, like improving math and reading test scores among 4th graders and overall ACT scores. He says better preparing teachers while they are still in college could also have an impact in K-12 classrooms.

“Just as lawyers, doctors, and architects, our teachers should receive a full year residency in the classroom so that teaching can be treated as a white collar profession, just as those others are,” White said.

White says in the near future, they will draft the framework for a plan to improve education in Louisiana. He says the plan outline will be made available to the public.

“Our goal in issuing this draft framework will be to elicit questions, to promote dialogue, to ensure that every corner of our state has had a chance to speak on specific ideas,” White said.