The Louisiana Legislature in the upcoming session will consider a bill called the "Louisiana Early Childhood Education Act."

The bill emphasizes that early education and pre-kindergarten, should be held to a higher standard and that promotion of education readiness before a child enters kindergarten is important in that child's development.

The Act would:

  • Hold early childhood programs to a higher standard
  • Allow early childhood programs to create a system to achieve kindergarten readiness
  • Create new standards in early education
  • Punish programs that do not meet those standards by either cutting public funding or removing their license
  • Give parents guidance on their choice of school through a letter grade system that would hold schools accountable

State Superintendent of Education John White said,

Louisiana is leading the nation in developing a system of early childhood education that ensures our youngest children are starting school on the path to success."

 

Louisiana's Early Childhood Education Act becomes more relevant in light of a new statistic that shows that only 52% of children who enter kindergarten are actually ready to learn.

Nine regional community forums were conducted recently to solicit input about the Early Childhood Education Act. Over 500 different early childhood administrators and caregivers was well as parents provided their feedback about the proposed legislation.

Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said,

There has never before been a greater level of collaboration and cooperation between Louisiana's child-serving state agencies and our stakeholders,"

 

The final date for submitting comments is January 1st, 2013. After that, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will have to submit an update to the legislature my March 1, 2013.  By July 1st, 2012 BESE will have to submit the actual network that will manage and oversee all programs funded through public taxes that provide early childhood care.

If all goes according to plan, BESE intends on having the network completely up and running for the 2015-2016 school year.