— The Louisiana Parish School District voted Tuesday to leave the U.S. Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind, a move that is likely to anger parents and teachers who say the state’s schools have been unable to meet federal standards for academic achievement.
In a letter to the Education Department, the Louisiana Parish school district said it will leave the federal No Child and Community Program after a review by the Department of Justice found that the state has “failed to meet standards” and has “shown a clear disregard for children’s health and well-being.”
The letter comes after the Education Dept. found that Louisiana schools had “failing” performance in the No Child LETS exam and “substantially decreased” academic achievement in 2015-16.
The results also were inconsistent with the state curriculum, according to the Department’s analysis.
The letter also noted that the district has already begun the process of removing a few schools, including its top school, and said the remaining schools may close in the future.
The district is still reviewing its options and is working with the district and other school districts to determine how best to proceed.
“The Louisiana School District has not and will not continue to take any actions that may impact students, their families, or the quality of education,” the letter said.
“The Louisiana Department of Public Instruction has informed the Louisiana School Board that it is not responsible for the decisions made by the board and will be acting on its own.”
The Louisiana Public School Employees Association said in a statement that the vote to leave is “deeply disappointing and will have a negative impact on our students and families.”
“The results of the No Common Core test were released yesterday and we are extremely disappointed with how the results were released.
However, we are hopeful that we will be able to get to a place where the results of this testing will be more in line with what we have seen in other states,” the union said.
The Louisiana State Board of Education will consider a request from the state Department of Children and Families for a waiver of No Child left behind standards.
If granted, the state would remove the requirement for teachers to attend a standardized reading program and eliminate the school year as a mandatory part of Louisiana schools.
“In addition to the federal guidance that the department has given us, the Department will continue to monitor the state and local results,” the Louisiana Department for Education said in its letter.
“As the school districts work to find a way to continue their academic success, they will also need to work closely with the school boards and district administrators.”
The move comes as lawmakers and the governor are weighing whether to lift the state budget impasse.
The Louisiana Legislature voted to pass a $1.5 billion state budget Thursday that is expected to be approved by the state House of Representatives by Friday.
John Bel Edwards has been working behind the scenes to resolve the budget impasses, meeting with members of both chambers on the weekend to work on a deal.
Edwards has said he is ready to negotiate.
The state will be the last of five states to leave No Child Leaving behind in 2019, as the other states are Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.