House Ed. rejects BESE’s policy to change graduating requirements for seniors

Louisiana is currently only 1 of 8 states that still requires standardized tests for graduation.
Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana is currently only 1 of 8 states that still requires standardized tests for graduation. BESE says this makes our education system outdated and needs revision when it comes to graduating students.

“The dangers, the stakes of everything are so high for our high schoolers that artificial barriers created by us in this system are unacceptable,” said BESE President Dr. Holly Boffy.

Dr. Boffy says some students have test-taking anxiety, learning disabilities and some are new to the country and don’t speak fluent English.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we ESL students need to pass a full English test when most of us are not fluent in English and have a different alphabet,” said one ESL student who spoke before the committee on Thursday.

So, if a senior fails the LEAP, under their proposal, rather than having their LEAP score determine their fate, they would instead need to demonstrate their ability to get a job and be eligible for TOPS Tech for technical schools. It is something State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley is adamantly against, arguing the leap score requirements to graduate are already lower than they should be.

“Now is not the time, in my opinion, to think about lowering that particular bar. Now is the time to think about additional solutions to the fact that too many of our kids can’t read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade, the fact that our high schools do need to be redesigned to be more productive, to meet the moment in the market and for the families,” said Dr. Brumley.

Some of those on the BESE board came to speak against it also.

“We all recognize and understand this is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, as I’ve stated many times...this is not the answer,” explained Michael Melerine with BESE District 4 and was also recently elected to the State House of Representatives.

After hours of discussion that seemed to go in circles, the House Education Committee ultimately rejected BESE’s proposed policy. But, it’s not over there. The governor still has the final say and will have 10 days to either accept or reject the committee’s decision. However, a spokesperson with the governor’s office said Thursday he already plans to support it. If he gives it his stamp of approval, this new policy will be implemented until Governor-elect Jeff Landry takes office. From there, the legislature can vote to overturn it and then Governor Landry can officially tank it.

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