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The Louisiana Legislative session will soon kick into full gear. There are many agendas on the minds of new and senior leaders, community members and non-profits alike. However, one goal should be shared by all-- Louisiana’s future depends upon our ability to give every child the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. That can only be achieved by providing quality, early educational experiences that prepare our children to grow and learn.
The message is clear and direct. No party line should divide the subject. If we want a successful future for Louisiana, then we must be dedicated to improving education for all students, especially our most important learners, newborn children through age four.
With 90 percent of brain development happening in the first four years of a child’s life, early experiences have a profound effect on lifelong success. Young children who are not exposed to quality curriculum in these early years often enter kindergarten behind, may remain behind and become at risk for dropping out.
With so much opportunity abounding in Southwest Louisiana, this is simply inexcusable.
Quality childcare in Louisiana costs almost as much as annual public college tuition. Of course, some families can afford to foot the bill, but public funds are significantly lacking for families who cannot afford to do so. In fact, less than 15% of eligible children under age four in Louisiana have access to any public funding for childcare.
We’ve had great success in the past year with getting the ball rolling towards increased funding, but we must not stop progress. The presence of an extremely long waiting list for the only public voucher program for day care and pre-school, Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), means there is clearly more work to be done.
Louisiana needs stable, sustainable funding sources for early childcare and education.
This session, please join us in supporting organizations, legislators and bills that are willing to tackle this crisis. All of us public officials, business leaders, educators and parents have a role to play in making quality early care and education accessible to Louisiana’s families. This is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to our youngest children’s educational foundation and success.
Categories: President's Blog