Lawmakers get together for the regular legislative session next week and one of the big topics this year will be education. Louisiana students, like others across the nation, have lost ground over the past two years because of the pandemic.

Lawmakers along with education leaders are looking for ways to make up for that lost learning. One proposal up for discussion this spring is a bill to require all public elementary schools to offer Pre-K education. Similar programs have been available to some students in Louisiana, but that decision has been left up to the local school boards.

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Under this bill, Senator Cleo Fields of Baton Rouge wants to mandate Pre-K offerings at all schools. Enrollment would not be mandatory under this measure, but parents would have the option of enrolling youngsters at age 3.

 

A state law mandating schools to offer kindergarten was passed only last June. Until then, it too was an option. Fields’ bill would require local school districts to provide full-day pre-kindergarten; even in charter schools. How much would his proposed law cost taxpayers? Senator Fields says that information will be available soon.

But what about staffing for these Pre-K classes? Fields understands the teacher shortage is a national problem and he will also be working on legislation to address that problem which is having an impact in classrooms across the state.

 

This Pre-K bill would also make sure these students are counted toward the dollars coming to each parish from the state minimum foundation program for school funding.

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