BATON ROUGE, LA (AP/WAFB) - State Superintendent John White looked more solemn than usual following his meeting with Governor Bobby Jindal. White said he had a cordial meeting with the governor, but feels caught between what the governor wants and what the board of elementary and secondary education wants.
"There really is only one basic disagreement," White said. "Who has the ability to determine which questions are on the test? Is it the procurement support team or is it the elected education leadership of the state?"
White plans to issue a report to BESE on Friday. He says they will then need to decide what the next step is: submit another plan or take legal action to resolve the problem in court.
White says the governor encouraged him to communicate with the commissioner, which White says he has done.
Without a test in place by which education officials can measure the standards, White says they could lose out on federal dollars. He says that's part of the No Child Left Behind, the federal money comes only if there is a test in place.
He added the letter grades assigned to each school in the state are based on the high stakes tests.
"You have to have a test to measure learning," White said.
In January of 2014, he says, teachers received a guide based on the PARCC assessment, the test which was to be administered in 2015. Right now there is no test or guide for teachers to follow.
White says with East Baton Rouge Parish set to start school in 25 days, the state is already behind.
White says according to the law, BESE shall approve standards and a test. He says the legislative body told BESE to go create a test for 2015 based on national standards.
"We’re not in a better place than we were two weeks ago."
Jindal’s Chief of Staff Kyle Plotkin told reporters after the meeting that the administration hopes to have new tests in place this school year, but did not offer a time frame as to how long that process could take.
“We've told the Superintendent of Education and members of the BESE board that we can do a process that meets a timeline in order to have a new assessment in the classroom this year, but the first step is for the Department of Education to follow the procurement law and make sure that we have a fair and competitive process,” Plotkin said.
In a proposed compromise, BESE President Chas Roemer said he would hope to have a new testing contract in place within 90 days after the request is issued.