Its Early Childhood Education Day at the Capitol, and proponents are hoping to convince lawmakers to pump 31-million dollars more into a program that subsidizes early childhood programs for working-class families.

Louisiana Policy Institute for Children executive director Melanie Bronfin says giving kids a good educational foundation is vital to their academic future.

“Today we have over 40 percent of our students starting kindergarten behind, and of course if you start behind, because of brain development, you are very likely to stay behind.”

She says 80 percent of brain development occurs prior to age 3.

 

15,000 kids are in the early childhood subsidy program, down from 39,000 in 2008, but Bronfin estimates even more families would take an interest if the program was funded.

The issue has become a flash point at the capitol, as Governor Edwards calls for 39 million in new K-12 education funding, but many Republicans say that money should go towards early childhood education. Bronfin says no successful educational program is successful without both…

“It shouldn’t be that you invest in K-12, or higher ed, or early childhood, we need to be investing in all of those things.”

Bronfin says 31-million is needed to cover the 5,100 families who are waiting for assistance from the Child Care Assistance Program.