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Highlight 1 of 3 on Eligibility Restrictions related to Promotion/Graduation Policies 
August 8, 2014

Act 833 of 2014 established alternative pathways for certain students with disabilities to be able to be promoted to the next grade level and graduate from high school.


Policy language proposed by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) would make the eligibility criteria more restrictive and different than what is in Act 833.


Students on LAA-1 would not have access to an alternative pathway to be promoted or graduate if BESE adopts policy revisions recommended by the LDE.


Act 833 clearly indicates student eligibility is based on how a student has performed relative to state-established benchmarks on state assessments or promotion criteria established at the local or state level.


LDE's recommendations for revising policy indicate student eligibility is based on whether the student is pursuing regular state academic standards.  The LDE's language to describe eligible students is both undefined because there are no 'regular' state academic standards, and is inconsistent with federal and state law.  There is only one set of state academic standards and every student is required to have access to and make progress toward those standards.  Federal law (IDEA) indicates that the IEP for each child with a disability must include a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.


Therefore this language recommendation by LDE for Bulletin 1530 revisions provides no clarity as to which students would be eligible and may create confusion as to whether all students should be pursuing the state academic standards.

However, discussions with LDE staff indicate the intent is to not allow students on the alternate assessment level one (LAA-1) access to the alternative pathway for promotion and graduation. Even though LAA-1 evaluates the progress of students toward the general education standards, it appears that LDE intends to enforce the eligibility requirement that students on LAA-1 are not eligible for consideration of an alternative pathway to promotion and graduation.  This restriction in eligibility criteria is clearly beyond the language and the intent of Act 833.

Clearly, students on LAA-1 are not meeting state-established academic benchmarks.  The LDE's proposed policy language recommendations would restrict access to an alternative pathway by disallowing consideration for students who have been arbitrarily determined to be on LAA1.

How does this compare with other states?

In almost half of the states (19) the only exit option for high school is a diploma, not a special education diploma, but a regular, occupational or honors diploma.  Certificates of Achievement or Attendance fail to recognize whether a student has fulfilled any requirements and fail to inform employers of any abilities of students.  Graduation rates posted by the U.S. Department of Education  reveal extremely high graduation rates in states where all students have true access to a meaningful exit outcome from school.  Graduation rates reveal whether a state values all students.  In the states below all students have access to graduating with a diploma - a regular high school diploma.

Percentage of Students with Disabilities Graduating with a Regular High School Diploma (2010-2011)
75 %
New Jersey
73 %
South Dakota
84 %

Will allowing all students true access to an opportunity to earn a diploma cause Louisiana diplomas to be devalued?

Students from the above states tend to outperform students in Louisiana by most measures and these states rank higher than Louisiana on educational performance and outcome measures - including a recent report of the 2014 States with the Best and Worst School Systems.  It has never been mentioned when comparing or ranking school systems, or employers considering a new hire, that a graduate of New Jersey or Pennsylvania is lesser than a graduate from Louisiana.  However, students who exit a Louisiana school with a certificate or as a drop-out are viewed as lesser than a graduate from any state. 

Important Information

Many policy revisions for Act 833 proposed by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) are more restrictive than Act 833.


Click the links below to see the La. DD Council's analysis of the LDE proposed policy revisions, Council recommendations for policy and the LDE proposed policy language. 

Contact your BESE member to tell them how you feel about these issues. 

BESE Agendas
 Click here for the link to the agenda for each August 2014 BESE Committee and Board meeting.


Tuesday, August 12th

 9:30 a.m.    Administration and Finance Committee 

11:00 a.m.   School Innovation and Turnaround Committee

  1:30 p.m.   Academic Goals and Instructional Improvement Committee 

  3:30 p.m.   Educator Effectiveness Committee  


Wednesday, August 13th

  9:00 a.m.  BESE (Full Board)

BESE Members
Click HERE for the list of BESE Members by district or use the list below.

Mr. Chas Roemer  President


Dr. Lottie Beebe


Ms. Holly Boffy



Ms. Connie E. Bradford


Mr. James D. Garvey, Jr.  Vice President


Mr. Jay Guillot


Ms. Carolyn Hill


Ms. Kira Orange Jones


Mr. Walter Lee


Dr. Judith Miranti


Ms. Jane Smith


Not sure which BESE member represents you?  
Use the Louisiana map with BESE Districts linked here to find out.
Did You Take Action?
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Please let us know if you contacted your BESE Member or attended a BESE meeting by emailing us at
Any questions?
If there are any questions about the information in this alert, contact LaTEACH at:
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Phone: 1-800-450-8108
Phone: 1-800-894-6558

LaTEACH is an initiative of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.