Secondary School Redesign Study Commission

WHEREAS, Louisiana's economy during the 21st century requires a workforce with a strong academic foundation and technological competence, and therefore all schools must better prepare students for further education and work;

WHEREAS, it is essential that every Louisiana student obtain a high school education that allows that student to become a productive citizen in this new economy;

WHEREAS, Louisiana's new content standards, testing program, and accountability system require that all students and schools perform at higher levels than previously required;

WHEREAS, Louisiana's current system of secondary education does not consistently provide clear pathways which include and integrate academic, technical, and vocational learning, nor has it established strong linkages with the state's community and technical colleges;

WHEREAS, it is essential to ensure that all students have multiple pathway options available to them throughout their high school career, that emphasize both academic and career preparation; and

WHEREAS, given the many K-12 reforms underway, now is an appropriate time to carefully review all policies governing the state's current system of secondary education;

NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the state of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested through the Constitution and the laws of the state of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1: The Secondary School Redesign Study Commission (hereafter "Commission") is created within the executive department, Office of the Governor.

SECTION 2: The Commission shall perform all of its duties in close association with the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (hereafter "BESE"), the Louisiana Community and Technical College Board, and state superintendent of the Department of Education.

SECTION 3: The duties and functions of the Commission shall include the recommendation of state policy changes leading to an improved secondary school system offering clear multiple pathways for all Louisiana youth, including those choosing to immediately begin full-time employment, those who enter an apprenticeship or a two-year college, or those who pursue a four-year degree. In making these recommendations, an examination of at least the following shall occur:

A. A review of best practices within other states regarding effective secondary school system and policies;

B. The key factors driving Louisiana's current dropout rate and strategies for significantly increasing the number of students who stay in school and graduate;

C. The types of safeguards needed to ensure that all secondary students will continue to have the option of choosing between various career pathways;

D. Necessary policy changes to help create an extensive system of alternative and other more career-based schools serving diverse students at flexible times and varied locations;

E. Necessary policy changes to help create a stronger linkage between K-12 school systems, the Louisiana Community and Technical College system, and all of post-secondary education including possible funding flow changes, whereby high school students may be engaged in dual high school/postsecondary enrollment options;

F. An examination of how the new 8th grade LEAP 21 tests and the planned upgrading of the high school exit exam best fit in an overall secondary school redesign; and

G. Any special considerations for special education students who may not be able to pass the new state LEAP 21 tests, but are capable of doing more than receiving the state's current certificate of attendance;

SECTION 4: The Commission shall submit a written report to the governor, BESE, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College Board by March 1, 2000, which addresses the issues set forth in Section 2. Based upon progress made by the Commission, the governor may request that additional work be completed, with a final report required by no later than March 1, 2001.

SECTION 5: The Commission shall be composed of thirty-two (32) members who shall be appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the governor selected as follows:

A. The governor, or the governor's designee;

B. The governor's chief of staff, or the chief of staff's designee;

C. Two (2) members of the Louisiana state Senate;

D. Two (2) members of the Louisiana House of Representatives;

E. Four (4) members of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE);

F. The superintendent of the Department of Education or the superintendent's designee;

G. Two (2) members of the Louisiana Community and Technical College Board;

H. The president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, or the president's designee;

I. One (1) member of the Louisiana Workforce Commission;

J. The executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, or the executive director's designee;

K. An employer representative;

L. A representative from the Louisiana School Boards Association;

M. A superintendent of a school system in an urban area;

N. A superintendent of a school system in a rural area;

O. A central office administrator within a school system in an urban area;

P. A principal from a high school that has implemented the "High Schools That Work" model and/or extensive career academies;

Q. A principal of an alternative or vocational school;

R. A representative of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers;

S. A representative of the Louisiana Association of Educators;

T. A representative of the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana;

U. A special education teacher or supervisor;

V. A parent representative;

W. A representative of the Council for a Better Louisiana;

X. A representative of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry;

Y. A representative of a School-to-Work project; and

Z. A representative of the AFL-CIO.

SECTION 6: The governor shall select the chair of the Commission from its membership. All other officers shall be elected by the membership of the Commission.

SECTION 7: The Commission shall be staffed by a team representing at least the Department of Education, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), the Office of the Governor, and the Community and Technical College Board. The Department of Education shall play the lead staffing role and ensure that all appropriate professional and logistical work is completed.

SECTION 8: The Commission shall meet at regularly scheduled intervals and at the call of the chair. A simple majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. All formal actions of the Commission shall require a majority vote of the members of the Commission present to constitute a quorum.

SECTION 9: The members of the Commission shall not receive additional compensation or a per diem from the Office of the Governor. Contingent upon the availability of funds, Commission members may receive reimbursement for actual travel expenses incurred, in accordance with state guidelines and procedures.

SECTION 10: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Commission in implementing the provisions of this Order.

SECTION 11: The provisions of this Order are effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until March 1, 2001, unless modified, terminated or rescinded by the governor, or terminated by operation of law.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the state of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 26th day of August,1999.

M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.

Fox McKeithen
Secretary of State