Mandatory Kindergarten for All 5-Year-Old Children in Louisiana
Just before the close of the legislative session at the state capital, lawmakers have decided that all 5-year-olds in Louisiana must attend kindergarten. The measure has been sent to Governor John Bel Edwards and he has vowed to pass it. The mandate will take effect with the 2022-23 school year.
The final vote of Sen. Cleo Fields' measure was 38-0 in the Senate and it passed the House by a vote of 70-32. This means that approximately 2,800 5-year-olds will enroll in kindergarten in the fall of 2022.
If you have a child turning 5-years-old by September 30th of each year, that child will be required to attend kindergarten. A child will not be required to attend kindergarten if they are still 4-years of age on the first day of school or if the child is enrolled in a pre-K program.
According to WBRZ, Sen. Fields claims this legislation is very important to children in the state, calling the legislation,
...one of the most important bills I have this season. Investing in early childhood education makes a big difference for the state of Louisiana. There's nothing more important wer can do for kids. When you invest in kids early in life, they tend to d better. -Sen. Cleo Fields during a House budget review
Southern states such as Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas require kindergarten for 5-year-old. All have higher literacy rates than Louisiana.
According to firstthingsfirst.org
From birth to age 5, a child’s brain develops more than at any other time in life. And early brain development has a lasting impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. The quality of a child’s experiences in the first few years of life – positive or negative – helps shape how their brain develops.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for the measure, however. Many conservative lawmakers in the House thought parents should make decisions about their children's education, not politicians in Baton Rouge.