Arun Ramanathan Argues for Bringing the LCAP into the 21st Century

Arun Ramanathan
November 2015

In an Education Week blog post, Arun Ramanathan, CEO of Pivot Learning Partners, suggests reshaping the Local Control Accountability Plans’ (LCAPs) to better match 21st century processes and sensibilities. Drawing from his experience as a special education teacher, Dr. Ramanathan identifies striking similarities between the LCAP and the Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students with disabilities he recalls filling out.  He describes both documents as “government-sanctioned forms divided into sections that require hours of manual text and data entry” and notes that  both maintain an annual review process, operate on a three year timeline, mandate parent involvement and collaboration with educators, and are intended for planning, resource allocation, and accountability. This combination of requirements and tasks produces plans that try to do too much with an end result that Dr. Ramanathan describes as “an unfortunate combination of incoherence and procedural compliance.” The resulting documents are hardly accessible to local stakeholders, do little to contribute to continuous improvement efforts, and seldom result in a higher quality education. He closes with the assertion that a 300 page cut-and-paste document quickly becomes outdated and irrelevant. Instead Ramanathan suggests “bringing [the plans] into the 21st century” by creating a new, streamlined process that uses innovative tools to link real time data to support accountability and to shape goals that will align with students’ needs as they evolve.