Superintendent of Education John White proposes plans on how to improve public schools to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

White says one way to raise expectations is to increase the benchmarks for a school to achieve an A grade in the state’s rating system. He says right now students only have to earn “basic” scores on math and literacy tests for the school to be rated an A.

“Students will demonstrate mastery of state standards in order for schools to earn an A. Similarly, we have a statewide goal to move from an 18 being an A to a 21 on the ACT,” White said.

White says in addition, graduation rates for “A” schools will also have to be at 90%, rather than 75%. The Every Student Succeeds Act also requires states to show how they plan to measure student achievement as part of their grading system, and White says for the first time ever schools will be judged by how well a student improves over the course of a year.

“God schools take all kids and grow their performance and development over time,” White said.

White says they hope to have these new policy changes in place by the 2017-18 school year. They will need to be approved by both BESE and the US Department of Education. He says they also hope to use some of the money attached with the new federal law to help students get a well-rounded education.

“Half of the students in our state while in elementary school and middle school do not receive any exposure to foreign language. In the 21st century, we must change this,” White said.

Pres. Barack Obama Signs Every Student Succeeds Act (wikimedia)