The New World of Early Learning in Louisiana
Career Pathways for Teachers
For the past three years, early childhood educators and state leaders in Louisiana have joined efforts to develop a new Birth to Kindergarten Pathway for individuals interested in obtaining certificates and degrees that focus on the education of children from birth to kindergarten.
This work began out of the work of the BrightStart Initiative, and has continued as part of the implementation of Act 3 as a joint effort of the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Board of Regents.
Currently, smooth pathways do not exist between the Child Development Associate credential (CDA) – a national credential that can be earned with a high school degree and further coursework or clock hours – and higher education. Also, smooth pathways do not exist between two and four year programs for birth-to- kindergarten educators. Finally, there is currently no birth to kindergarten teacher certification in Louisiana.
In Louisiana pre-k teachers must have a baccalaureate degree, Head Start requires at least a CDA credential, and child care teachers do not even need a high school degree.
A workgroup of over 50 professionals has identified stackable courses for birth-to-kindergarten pathways that would lead to a certificate (such as a CDA), then associate degree, and then baccalaureate degree. Two additional workgroups have met to identify elements of online birth-to-kindergarten degrees to be offered by two and four year institutions and create course syllabi to address state and national standards.
The next steps include:
Establishing a new teaching certification for birth-to-kindergarten teachers.
Developing syllabi for 10 birth-to-kindergarten courses that are applicable to all birth-to-kindergarten educators.
Identify campuses that will pilot the first three birth-to-kindergarten courses in the 2014-15 school year.
Have campuses develop traditional and online birth-to-kindergarten associate and baccalaureate degree programs.
Review and approve proposals for the new birth-to-kindergarten associate and baccalaureate degrees for implementation in fall of 2015. 
Louisiana Board of Regents website-Birth to Kindergarten Pathway: Linked Here
 Based on presentation at the June 18, 2014 Joint Meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Regents retrieved August 27, 2014 Link to PDF