Newsletters

Below are recent editions of newsletters sent by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children to our partners. To sign up for our newsletters, click here.

Ready Louisiana Coalition Urges Governor and Legislature to Commit to Greater Investment in Early Care and Education

 

Ready Louisiana, a coalition of over 60 business, advocacy and community organizations from across the state, released a statement yesterday urging the Governor and the Legislature to commit to a greater investment in early care and education. 

 

Statement from Ready Louisiana

 

The early care and education community is pleased by Governor Edwards’ proposal to add $8.76 million* for early care and education to the proposed state budget. This effort is an important starting point for dialogue with state legislators about our early care and education needs. While these funds would preserve pre-K program opportunities previously funded by now-expiring federal grants, they would only fund child care services for 400 of the 5,500 children who are unfunded or on the wait list, leaving the remaining working parents with few, if any, options for high-quality, affordable care.  

 

The need is great, and we must do more. An additional $31 million is required to fund the rest of the waitlist of working families awaiting child care services. 

  

We, Ready Louisiana, urge the Governor and the Legislature to commit to a greater investment in early care and education to ensure all young children are off to a smart start in life. The recent state commission on funding this important priority for our families recommended an investment of $86 million. While we appreciate this recent proposal, we know more is required to address the legislative commission’s own recommendation. 

 

Like the majority of likely voters across Louisiana, we support increased funding for high-quality child care for working families, including additional funding to clear the child care wait list and implementation of the “LA B to 3” plan by the Louisiana Early Childhood Care and Education Commission referenced above. These investments are critical for Louisiana’s children, working families, and the economy.

 

In Louisiana, more than 40 percent of kindergartners start school behind their peers —and those who start behind are more likely to stay behind. However, quality early care and education can close this gap by developing cognitive and character skills when it matters most. Ninety percent of brain development takes place between birth and age four, wiring a child’s brain for future success or failure in school, work, and life. 

 

Ready Louisiana is a coalition of over 60 business, advocacy and community organizations from across the state. We share the belief that high quality early care and education will prepare our students for a smart start in life, enable families to be productive in the workforce, and serve as an economic engine for local communities. Together, we support expanding access to high quality early learning across the state of Louisiana by restoring funding for early care and education. For more information see www.readylouisiana.org 

 

* Clarification: There has been some confusion over the amount of money in the Governor’s proposal. Reference has been made to $13.54 million, but this includes $4.8 million of funds that the Department of Education has identified in its budget to replace some of the Pre-K slots that are ending with a federal grant. The actual amount of new funding in the Governor’s proposal is $8.76 million. 

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Legislators, Business Leaders and United Ways Show Statewide Support for Early Care and Education

Second LA Early Ed Week a Great Success!

March 14, 2019

Over 170 people attended Louisiana’s second annual Early Ed Week, held February 11-15 across the state. 

 

Early Ed Week brings legislators and business leaders together to highlight the importance of access to quality early care and education for children, birth through age four, across Louisiana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In each parish, participants had the

opportunity to see firsthand what high quality early learning centers look like and learn about the challenges Louisiana’s families face when trying to access quality, affordable early care and education in this state. Participants also heard about the dramatic cuts in the Louisiana Child Care Assistance Program over the last ten years, and the effect of child care breakdowns on parental workforce participation and productivity.                                                                                          Among the participants were many of the state’s legislative champions of early education, including Senators Danny Martiny, Ronnie Johns, Gerald Boudreaux, Barrow  eacock, and John Milkovich, Representatives Robert E. Billiot, Royce Duplessis, Alice Glenn, Stephanie Hilferty, Joseph A. Marino III, Polly Thomas, Malinda White, Mark Abraham, Stuart Moss, Jean Paul Coussan, Mike Huval, John Stefanski, Stuart Bishop, Tony Bacala, Rick Edmonds, Steve Carter, Pat Smith, Paula Davis, Brian McNabb, Frank Hoffman, and Mike Walsworth, and federal staff from the Offices of Senator John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hosts included the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, the Louisiana Early Childhood Business Roundtable, the Louisiana Association of United Ways, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the Jefferson Chamber and Jefferson Business Council, the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, the United Way of Northeast Louisiana, the Children’s Coalition, the United Way of Southwest Louisiana, the United Way of Acadiana, One Acadiana, the United Way of Iberia, the Capital Area United Way, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the EBR Early Childhood Community Network.

 

Media attention around the week was extensive. Here are just some of the highlights:

 

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make Louisiana's second annual Early Ed Week such a huge success!

 

Scroll down for some more photos from the week’s events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Early Childhood Care and Education Commission Releases Its Report for Improving Early Education in Louisiana

February 7, 2019

At its January 29 meeting, the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission unanimously approved recommendations for improving early care and education in Louisiana. The Commission’s report, Funding Our Future: LA B to 3, will now go to the governor, the state legislature, and the state board of education as mandated by law. 

 

The full Commission Report can be found here

 

The Commission found that the challenges are significant:

  • Many young children in need: There are 173,000 children in need birth to age three in Louisiana.

  • Many working families: Two out of three children age five and under have both parents or their single parent working.

  • Few quality early care and education options available to families: Fewer than 7% of in need children birth through age two and less than 33% of three year olds can access publicly funded early care and education. 

 

The Commission recommends that Louisiana build on the state’s success with LA 4:

  • Louisiana created LA 4 in 2001, built it over time, and today over 90% of 4 year olds in need can access a quality early care and education program.

 

The Commission recommends that to find success like LA 4 for birth to age three:

  • A state investment of $85.8 million

  • And an increase of nearly that amount annually over the next decade through combined local, state, federal and private funds. 

  • These funds will:

  • Expand quality seats to serve 114,000 children in need, prioritizing birth to age three, an increase from only 22,000 served today in that age range.

  • Strengthen resources for all families, regardless of need, that support nurturing relationships with young children.  

 

The Commission deferred a number of issues to its second year. In 2019 the Commission will study: 

  • Local Governance Structures for early care and education.

  • Promising Practices in evidence-based programs for healthy child development, especially for infants and toddlers.

  • Promising practices, such as shared services, to ensure that early care and education providers stay in business.

  • Opportunities for greater collaboration between stakeholder groups, state agencies, business and industry, workforce development, and local governments to meet the funding needs of LA B to 3. 

 

Act 639 of the 2018 Legislative Session established the Commission to make recommendations for a Master Plan for Early Care and Education for Louisiana. For more information on the Commission and its report view the Louisiana Department of Education’s PowerPoint presentation or the articles below.

 

ECCE Advisory Council Will Meet Wednesday, February 13, at 1:00 pm

 

The next Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 13, at 1:00 pm in the Thomas Jefferson Room (Rm. 1-136) of the Claiborne Building, 1201 N. 3rd Street, Baton Rouge. 

 

The agenda for the February 13 meeting includes:

  • Consideration of an update on Louisiana’s emergency preparedness for early learning centers

  • Consideration of proposed revisions to Bulletin 139, Louisiana Child Care and Development Funds Programs

  • Discussion of the ECCE Advisory Council 2018 Annual Report and Quarter 4 Report 

 

Council meetings are open to the public. They can also be live-streamed here.

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Early Childhood Care and Education Commission will Meet on Tuesday, January 29 at noon

[January 27, 2019 Edition]

 

Louisiana’s Early Childhood Care and Education Commission will meet Tuesday, January 29, at 12:00 p.m. in the Thomas Jefferson (Rm. 1-136) of the Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge.

 

Act 639 of the 2018 Legislative Session established the Commission to make recommendations, prior to the 2019 Legislative Session, for a Master Plan for Early Care and Education for Louisiana. Tuesday’s agenda will include a review of the draft Commission Report. 

 

To view the full agenda, click here. An Overview of the Commission and instructions for live streaming and viewing archived live streams can be found in the Early Childhood Policy and Guidance Library

Governor Will Consider Dedicating Sports Betting Revenue to Early Ed

If sports betting is approved in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards said he would consider dedicating the new revenue to early childhood education. The Governor said expanding early childhood education programs is essential to reducing education performance gaps in our children. 

 

Advocates for early childhood education say dedicating sports betting revenue is a good start toward providing a more secure funding source for early care and education in Louisiana. For more on this issue see: 

 

Latest ALICE Report Shows 48% of Louisiana Households Can't Afford Basic Expenses, Including Housing, Child Care and Food

The Louisiana Association of United Ways has released the 2018 ALICE Report, an annual report on those vulnerable families in Louisiana who are "asset limited, income constrained and employed," or ALICE. 

 

According to the report, 29% of Louisiana households are ALICE, and another 19% live in poverty. Together, nearly 48% (828,255 households) cannot afford basic expenses, such as housing, child care, food, transportation and health care.

 

Households living below the ALICE threshold make up between 27% and 75% of every parish in the state. The report points to a 6% increase in ALICE households since the group's previous report in 2014. Statewide, the costs of living — including food, transportation, housing, health care and taxes — increased 16% for a single person and 33% for a family of four between 2010 and 2016, compared to 9% inflation nationally.

 

In New Orleans, more than half of the city’s households live below the poverty line or are struggling to make ends meet. Basic expenses, including child care – which averaged $996 a month, a $302 increase from 2014 – are outpacing wages. 

 

The Times-Picayune Editorial Board says Louisiana must find ways to give families better opportunities, and quality child care and preschool must be a priority. Louisiana is only serving 15 percent of our children in need from birth through age 3, which can mean children aren’t able to thrive in school and parents miss too much work and risk losing their jobs.

 

For Alice by Parish reports, click here. To read the full 2018 ALICE Report, click here.

 

Louisiana Is Launching Pilot Programs to Increase Early Care and Education Access and Improve Quality

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is launching pilot programs in seven communities to develop and implement new strategies to increase access to and improve the quality of publicly funded early childhood care and education. Called Ready Start Community Networks, the pilots will include programs in Iberville, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, Rapides, St. Mary and Washington Parishes. The pilot programs will spend two years: 

 

  • developing new local governance structures;

  • assessing local demand for early care and education;

  • providing resources and training to teachers to improve classroom quality; 

  • implementing fundraising strategies; and

  • sharing their findings with state leaders to inform future policymaking.

 

The Ready Start Community Networks will report to the state education department throughout the course of the pilot, and at the end, their findings will be publicly shared.  

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Louisiana Receives Grant to Improve Quality of Early Care and Education

January 2, 2019

Louisiana has been awarded nearly $8 million to enhance the quality of its early care and education programs. The bulk of the award, about $7.1 million, comes from a competitive federal Preschool Development Grant, and about $800,000 comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as part of a private match required by the grant process. 

It should be noted that the grant dollars CANNOT be used to fund seats. Louisiana continues to serve only 15 percent of our children in need from birth through age three, and to date, 3,130 children remain on a waiting list for services. Louisiana does serve nearly all 4-year-old children, but the state only serves 7 percent of in-need children birth to age two and 33 percent of in-need children under age three.

The award is an affirmation of the state’s work over the last six years to reform of our early care and education system. The one-year grant, which will expire in December 2019, will allow Louisiana to:

  • Assist communities to make informed decisions to improve local early care and education. In response to recent legislation, the Louisiana Department of Education will establish locally-led pilot programs that will develop governing structures to guide local plans and funding for early childhood.

  • Begin to incorporate family homes into the statewide network of early childhood education providers. Many young children are cared for and educated in family home settings that are not currently part of the state's early childhood network, and many of these are not regulated in any way. The Department will research family homes to inform a strategic plan to begin to have them gain access to the resources and supports needed to provide high-quality learning.

  • Enhance the quality of early childhood education provided to young learners. The Department will expand professional development opportunities for teachers to ensure they are prepared for the classroom and to equip them with curricular tools and resources needed to provide high-quality experiences to children.

  • Improve systems that inform the statewide network of early childhood education providers. The Department will conduct a study of the state's unified quality rating system and implement a program to build efficiencies by sharing resources across childcare sites, like shared substitute teacher pools or shared purchasing to maximize funding.

The full Louisiana Department of Education Press release can be found here.

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Louisiana Ranked 8th for Early Ed System

December 17, 2018 

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has ranked Louisiana No. 8 in the nation for creating a coordinated and integrated early care and education (ECE) system. According to the Center, “At a time when demand for ECE services continues to far outpace available resources, the case for continued and even expanded investment must be accompanied by a commitment to efficiency, good governance, and a consistent focus on quality assurance and results.”

Information collected by BPC was used to rank states in terms of their relative success across a number of measures: consolidating program administration, establishing advisory councils, implementing quality measures, and deploying available funds.

Louisiana specifically received high marks for:

  •  Managing five programs serving young children under one agency, which improves efficiency and allows for better alignment of eligibility and monitoring requirements and quality improvement activities.

  • Having a quality rating and improvement system that is mandatory for all publicly funded providers, which can better ensure quality of care for children.

These components of our system are a result of the reforms initiated by the Early Childhood Education Act of 2012 (Act 3). The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children would like to congratulate the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Louisiana Department of Education, and all the publicly funded early care and education programs in our state that have worked hard over the last six years to make these reforms a reality.

It should be noted, however, that Louisiana continues to rank poorly in the number of children who can access early care and education. Only fifteen percent of potentially eligible children under age four in the state can access any publicly funded slot. By contrast, two-thirds of young children have both parents, or their single parent, in the workforce, and child care costs almost as much as public college tuition. The Child Care Assistance Program has gone from serving almost 40,000 children ten years ago to under 20,000 children today. 

It is hoped that this national recognition of the efficiency, good governance, and quality assurance of our system will provide an additional incentive for policy makers to invest in this critical time of life.

Read the full report here.

Read Louisiana Fact Sheet here.

Read the Louisiana Department of Education Press Release here.

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Next Meeting of ECCE Commission

December 10, 2018 

Date and Time: Thursday, December 13, Noon to 3:00 pm

Louisiana’s Early Childhood Care and Education Commission will hold its next meeting on Thursday, December 13, from 12:00 to 3:00 pm in the Thomas Jefferson room of the Claiborne building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge. 

Act 639 of the 2018 Legislative Session established the Commission to make recommendations, prior to the 2019 Legislative Session, for a Master Plan for Early Care and Education for Louisiana.

The Commission will be discussing approaches to increased access to quality from other states. The group will also consider the recommendations of the Commission Workgroup for what their ultimate report should contain in terms of a funding request for achieving the vision of increased access to quality in early childhood in Louisiana. All Commission meetings are open to the public and can be streamed here. To view the agenda and list of Commission members, click here. 

 

For more information, a Commission Overview and the PowerPoints and Agendas from the previous meetings can be found in the Early Childhood Policy and Guidance Library (go down to “ECCE Commission.”) The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, 2019, noon to 3pm.

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New Orleans Doubles Its Investment in Early Care and Education to $1.5 million

December 10, 2018 

New Orleans has led the state in local investment in early care and education, especially for infants and toddlers. This year the city has allocated $750,000 out of its general funds for slots for children birth through age two in quality child care centers. Last month the Mayor and City Council doubled that amount for next year. Although this will serve only a small fraction of the unserved children in need in the city, it is sets a bold precedent of local investment in this critical time of life. It is hoped that other cities and parishes across the state will follow New ans’ lead.

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children would like to applaud and thank Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the New Orleans City Council for their commitment to young children and their families, and for their foresight in investing in what the data and research has shown provides one of the greatest returns on public investment that can be made. 

For more information on the work in New Orleans, see New Orleans budget doubles funding for early childhood education in 2019, 'a paradigm shift' (Gambit Nov. 29, 2018); Our Views: Better day care for New Orleans (Advocate Editorial Oct. 20, 2018);  Here's how $1.5 million request can continue boosting early childhood education in New Orleans, advocates say (New Orleans Advocate Oct. 15, 2018); If New Orleans leaders care about children, they will invest in preschool (Times-Picayune Editorial October 14, 2018).

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Louisiana Spotlighted for its Innovative Work to Improve the Early Care and Education Workforce

December 10, 2018 

In Lessons Learned from the Bayou State: Three Reforms for Improving Teaching and Caregiving, New America explores the policy changes in Louisiana that have been implemented to improve our early care and education workforce. The article “offers important lessons for other states grappling with how to prepare and support their early childhood educators to better serve young children. Louisiana has implemented policies that aim to strengthen early educator qualifications, evaluate and improve the quality of teaching, and increase wages to help retain talented educators.” 

This in-depth piece explores many of the reforms that have been implemented here since the Early Childhood Education Act (Act 3) passed six years ago, and offers lessons learned and policy recommendations to enhance our work going forward. 

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LDOE Releases Second Performance Ratings for Every Publicly Funded Early Ed Program in Louisiana

November 12, 2018

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has released the second year of performance ratings for every publicly funded early care and education program in Louisiana, including Type III child care centers, Head Start programs and Pre-Kindergartens. In addition, each school district (network) also received a rating. 

 

The ratings are in four categories: Excellent, Proficient, Approaching Proficient and Unsatisfactory. To download Performance Profiles for all Early Care and Education sites and networks, click here or to find individual sites go to the Louisiana School and Center Finder. 

 

To highlight quality services, the Department also announced nearly 300 early childhood education programs that have earned a spot on the state's "Honor Roll" as a result of high performance in the 2017-2018 school year.   

 

An analysis of the performance data shows the following:  

 

  • 6% of providers earned an Excellent rating, up from 3% last year. This includes eighty schools, three Head Start/Early Head Start programs, and 7 private child care centers. Private child care centers generally have the fewest resources of the publicly funded programs making their lack of Excellent scores more likely. 

Providers by Rating

Rating         % of Providers  2017-18      % of Providers  2016-17             Change 

     

Excellent                                6%                                      3%                         + 3 pts

Proficient                               71%                                    66%                        + 5 pts

Approaching Proficient       23%                                    31%                        - 8 pts

Unsatisfactory                      0.3%                                  0.6%                     - 0.3 pts

  • Top Gains programs, those showing significant growth, were located in 40% of networks. Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, and Rapides had at least three programs on the Top Gains Honor Roll.  Click here to see graph.

  • Overall, child care programs continue to score lower than Early/Head Start and school programs; however, they continue to show progress at similar rates. The chart below shows improvement over the past three years, including the first year of scores, which was a learning year.

  • Child care programs improved their scores by 0.18 points compared to last year and by 0.35 points compared to the learning year. Early/Head Start programs improved their scores by 0.14 points compared to last year and by 0.27 points compared to the learning year. School programs improved their scores by 0.13 points compared to last year and by 0.22 points compared to the learning year.

  • Yet again, no early childhood networks earned an overall Excellent rating. However, all but three earned a Proficient rating, compared to seven last year. Ascension, East Carroll, Grant, Orleans, and Richland all moved up from Approaching Proficient to Proficient. Franklin dropped from Proficient to Approaching Proficient, and Catahoula/Tensas and Concordia remained Approaching Proficient. 

 

  • 45% of networks have at least one Excellent program, and the following networks have three or more: Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, Evangeline, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, and Terrebonne.

 

The data shows continued improvement, but that too many children are still not receiving the instruction needed to fully prepare them for kindergarten.  

 

Helpful links and resources:

 

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Almost 300 Early Care and Education Programs Make the Honor Roll

November 1, 2018

The Louisiana Department of Education today announced nearly 300 early care and education programs have earned a spot on the state's "Honor Roll" as a result of high performance in 2017-2018. The announcement comes a week before the state will release annual early childhood performance profiles and K-12 school report cards in the Louisiana School and Center Finder. 

 

The Honor Roll recognizes early childhood programs, including child care centers, Head Start/Early Start, and pre-kindergarten, in three categories: (1) Excellence (for programs that achieved an overall performance rating of “Excellent”); (2) Birth to Three (for programs that achieved a high score on their toddler ratings); and (3) Top Gains (for programs that significantly improved their scores). View all Honor Roll results.

 

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children applauds the early care and education programs that have been awarded one of these honors and achieved such success for the young children of Louisiana.   

 

Even as we celebrate the increase in programs on the honor roll, it's important to remember that access to quality programs for children birth through age three still remains extremely low in Louisiana. This is primarily because there are so few publicly funded slots. 

 

  • Only 7% of Louisiana’s economically disadvantaged children birth through age 2 can access ANY publicly funded slot.

  • Only 33% of Louisiana’s economically disadvantaged three-year-olds can access ANY publicly funded slot.  

  • This is in contrast to the fact that 66% of young children in Louisiana have both parents or their single parent in the workforce.  

  • There are over 3,000 families on the Child Care Assistance Program waiting list. 

 

Louisiana is moving in the right direction in terms of quality, but for the sake of our youngest citizens, we still have a great deal of work to do to increase access to high-quality early care and education. 

 

Read the Louisiana Department of Education's full press release here.
 

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Second Meeting of New ECCE Commission Highlighted Need for Greater Focus on Infant and Toddler Care

September 27, 2018

 

Louisiana’s new Early Childhood Care and Education Commission, which is tasked with developing recommendations for a Master Plan for Early Care and Education for Louisiana, held its second meeting in early September.

 

In its second meeting, the Commission heard testimony from three national experts: Louise Stoney, co-founder of the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance and the Opportunities Exchange; Elliot Regenstein with Foresight Law + Policy; and Bridget Hamrey, Ph.D., with the University of Virginia.

 

  • Stoney said that despite daunting financial challenges, Louisiana needs to focus on offering affordable child care for infants and toddlers. She said the state is "limping along" in offering assistance, especially for our youngest children.

  • Regenstein said more slots for children from birth to age 3 is where Louisiana can make the greatest impact, and where there is the least investment. Of the state's nearly 212,000 children from low-income families from birth to age 4, only 5 percent of eligible infants and 9 percent of eligible one-year-olds are in public programs. Thirteen percent of eligible two-year-olds and 35 percent of eligible three-year-olds are in public programs, while 93 percent of four-year-olds are in public programs.

  • Dr. Hamre discussed the research UVA has done on Louisiana’s new unified rating system.

 

You can read more highlights from the September meeting in the Advocate. The American Press underscored the messages from the meeting in an editorial entitled, "Our View: LA should focus on child care for youngest children." 

 

For more information, you can access the presentation slides here and watch the live stream here. For information on the next Commission meeting in October, see below.

 

Next ECCE Commission Meeting

 

Date and Time: Wednesday, October 3, noon to 3:00 pm

Topic: Local Governance of Early Care and Education in Louisiana

 

Louisiana’s Early Childhood Care and Education Commission will hold its third meeting next Wednesday, October 3, from 12:00 to 3:00 pm in the Thomas Jefferson room of the Claiborne building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge. 

 

Act 639 of the 2018 Legislative Session established the Commission to make recommendations, prior to the 2019 Legislative Session, for a Master Plan for Early Care and Education for Louisiana.

 

The Commission will be discussing current and future local governance of early care and education in Louisiana. The agenda includes testimony from national expert Karen Ponder, a Distinguished Fellow at the Build Initiative. All Commission meetings are open to the public and can be streamed here. To view the agenda and list of Commission members, click here

 

For more information, a Commission Overview and instructions for viewing archived live streams can be found in the Early Childhood Policy and Guidance Library. The fourth meeting of the Commission is scheduled for Monday, November 5, 2018.

 

LDOE is Seeking Local Districts to Pilot EC Governance Structures - Applications Due October 8

 

On August 31, Louisiana's Department of Education (LDOE) issued a Request For Applications for districts to pilot local early care and education governance structures. LDOE is seeking community networks to pilot improving quality and access through collaborative governance. Applications are due October 8.  

 

Successful applicants will be funded up to $100,000 per year to support the plans and budget submitted with their application. The state will also prioritize pilots for additional seats (e.g., LA 4, CCAP, NSECD) that may be available for School Year 2019-2020.

 

In Case You Missed It

 

New research says how much you talk with babies is linked to their IQ in adolescence

LENA Foundation - September 10, 2018

 

Early childhood experiences are critically important to a person’s success later in life, according to a 10-year longitudinal study by the LENA Foundation. Researchers found a significant correlation between the amount of conversational turns children experienced during the ages of 18-24 months and their IQ, verbal comprehension, and language processing skills 10 years later.

 

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New ECCE Commission Meets for Second Time 

September 4, 2018

 

Weather permitting, Louisiana’s new Early Childhood Care and Education Commission will hold its second meeting this week on Thursday, September 6 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm in the Thomas Jefferson room of the Claiborne building, 1201 N. Third, Baton Rouge. 

 

Act 639 of the 2018 Legislative Session established the Commission to make recommendations, prior to the 2019 Legislative Session, for a Master Plan for Early Care and Education for Louisiana.

 

The Commission will be considering information on the early childhood education market, program types, and funding, and access to quality early care and education in Louisiana. All Commission meetings are open to the public and can be streamed here. To view the agenda and list of Commission members, click here. 

 

If you missed the first meeting (or were unable to access the streaming) you can view the live stream here.  The Commission Overview and presentation slides can be found in the Early Childhood Policy and Guidance Library. 

 

In Case You Missed It: Early Education in the National News

 

Baby Steps? Big Changes? One Way Louisiana is Strengthening its ECE Workforce

New America – August 6, 2018

 

There is an ongoing discussion about how to strengthen and better support the early care and education workforce. Louisiana’s Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate is one reform that could make a difference. Starting in 2019, all lead teachers in centers that receive public funding will need to have earned an Ancillary Certificate, which requires professional coursework and hands-on training. The hope is that raising the qualifications of the workforce will improve the quality of care and education, and thus set children on the path to succeed in school.

 

The Costs of Motherhood Are Rising and Catching Women Off Guard

New York Times – August 17, 2018

 

After steadily climbing for half a century, the share of women in the U.S. labor force has leveled off since the 1990s, even though women earn more college degrees than men, have been entering jobs previously closed to them, and are postponing marriage and childbirth. To explain this economic mystery, a new study points to the rising “cost” of motherhood – an increasing burden of time and financial resources that leads many women to leave the workforce. According to the study, “The cost of childcare has increased by 65 percent since the early 1980s. Eighty percent of women breastfeed, up from about half, and the number of hours that parents spend on childcare has risen, especially for college-educated parents, for whom it has doubled.” The study also points out that in countries with more generous family-friendly policies, the participation of women in the workforce has steadily increased, unlike in the U.S.

 

Helping Parents Who Are College Students

Inside Higher Ed – August 2, 2018

 

One of the biggest barriers for adults to obtain a post-secondary degree is affordable and accessible childcare. An influx of federal funds is making it easier for schools like the University of Houston to provide on-campus childcare for students, but there has still been a decline in the number of campuses that offer it as a resource. According to Lindsey Reichlin Cruse at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, "It's expensive to provide and institutions often don't see providing childcare in the vein of their academic priorities or academic mission, but it's absolutely in line with their mission and it's probably the most important support for parenting college students to stay in school and graduate." 

 

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New Federal Funds Add 4,500 Slots to Louisiana's Child Care Assistance Program

August 1, 2018

 

Good News with a Word of Caution

 

The Louisiana Department of Education announced today that they are moving 4,500 children off the waiting list for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), thanks to additional funding from the federal government. 

 

CCAP is the only state-administered program for early care and education for children under age four in Louisiana. It provides child care subsidies for low-income children whose parents are working, in school or in job training. The new federal funding represents the first increase to Louisiana’s CCAP program in nine years, so this is very exciting news for Louisiana’s working families! 

 

A Word of Caution: It is important to note that even with 4,500 slots added this year:

 

  • There are still approximately 2,500 children on the CCAP waiting list. 

  • Louisiana will be serving only around 20,000 children, roughly 1/2 the number served by CCAP nine years ago. 

  • There are still 140,000 children under the age of four from low-income families who cannot access ANY publicly funded slot. 

 

To serve our most vulnerable and most at-risk children, Louisiana must increase state and local investment in early care and education, especially for children birth through age three.

 

To read the full announcement from the Louisiana Department of Education, click here.

 

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children would like to thank our national partners who helped secure the additional federal funds for the Child Care and Development Fund. We are grateful for all of their hard work and their commitment to early care and education across the U.S.

 

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Policy Institute Releases New Report with Recommendations on Improving Early Care and Education Provider Quality

July 17, 2018

 

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children has released a new report, CLASS Matters: Increasing Quality in Louisiana Early Childhood Programs.

 

Louisiana has implemented a new rating system, which provides a quality rating for every early care and education program in the state based on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) assessment. The CLASS is an observational instrument used to assess classroom quality. It describes multiple dimensions of teaching that are linked to child development and achievement. 

 

This report offers data-informed recommendations to assist with improving early care and education provider quality and teacher practice, as measured by CLASS. The report and recommendations are based on analyses of the first two years of Louisiana CLASS data, interviews with 18 stakeholders across the state, and a review of national research around improving teacher practice, child outcomes, and CLASS scores.

 

Key findings from data analyses, interviews, and national research include:

 

  • Lowering child-teacher ratios and increasing child assessment use positively affects CLASS scores

  • Teachers with higher levels of education experienced higher CLASS scores

  • Stakeholders view the CLASS assessment positively and especially like the tool’s focus on teacher-child interactions

  • Stakeholders and national research agree – access to high-quality professional development and coaching support improved teacher practice and children’s learning

 

Based on these findings, LPIC recommends state- and local-level actions focused on supporting quality improvements and increasing access. Specific recommendations are listed below. Early drafts of the report and recommendations were shared with Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) staff, the Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) members, and have already supported policy and regulatory changes approved this spring and summer, including those noted below: 

 

  • Separate the Proficient rating category into two categories to distinguish differences in quality for higher-performing providers and to better differentiate supports (Included in rules passed by BESE April 2018)

  • Add infant classrooms to the rating system, ensuring adequate support, and consider increasing the infant reimbursement rate (Adding infant classrooms to the rating system was included in rules passed by BESE April 2018)

  • Provide additional targeted training and support to teachers and administrators, focusing on providers in the Approaching Proficient range, including evidence-based coaching and CLASS-specific training, and offering at times convenient for providers (Partially included in rules passed by BESE April 2018)

  • Develop a state professional development plan based on a gap analysis of current opportunities and pilot any new models or systems with a variety of provider types and across age levels

  • Increase access to low/no-cost education training programs for non-lead teachers to help address teacher talent pool shortages (LDE changed its policies to include this starting July 1, 2018)

  • Incorporate classroom environment checklist to guide teachers in classroom setup and organization

  • Fund additional grants for high-quality materials

  • Increase uniformity of CLASS observation procedures across regions, including notification, local observer, and observation windows 

  • Reduce maximum class-size ratios for child care centers (Rules passed by BESE June 2018 reduced teacher: child ratios for Type I Centers to be the same as Type II/III)

  • Analyze data from trainings and supports to determine efficacy of services

 

To read the full report click here. To read a Report Summary click here

 

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New Kids Count Report Ranks States on Child Well-Being

July 9, 2018


The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released their 2018 Kids Count Data Book – the annual report that tracks state and national trends related to child well-being. Louisiana has moved down to 49th out of the 50 states in overall child well-being—a stunning statistic. Louisiana is ranked behind Mississippi (48th), and ahead of only New Mexico (50th). 

 

Equally stunning is the number of children in our state who live in poverty—29%. This is in contrast to 19% of children nationwide, and an increase from 27% of children in Louisiana living in poverty in 2010.

 

As noted by the National Center for Children in Poverty, childhood poverty is consistently linked to academic failure and poor health outcomes. As early as 24 months, children in low-income families have been found to show lags in cognitive and behavioral development compared to their peers in higher-income families. Other risk factors, such as living in a single-parent family or low parent education levels, especially when combined with poverty, can markedly increase children’s chances of adverse outcomes.

 

Louisiana's Kids Count Profile

 

Louisiana’s state profile shows our ranking across numerous indicators:  

 

Economic, Health and Family

 

  • 45% of Louisiana’s children live in single-parent families, compared with 35% nationwide; the Louisiana percentage is unchanged from 2010.

  • 35% of Louisiana’s children have parents who lack secure employment, compared with 28% nationwide, but a slight improvement from 36% in Louisiana in 2010.

  • Louisiana’s strongest indicator is for the percentage of children with health insurance—only 3% of our children lack health insurance, compared with 4% nationwide, and an improvement from 6% in Louisiana in 2010. 

 

K-12 Education

 

Louisiana is ranked 47th in education, ahead of only Alaska, Nevada and New Mexico. The good news is Louisiana has substantially improved in our graduation rates and 4th-grade reading levels. Specific education results include: 

 

  • 74% of Louisiana’s 4th Graders are not proficient in reading, a big improvement from 82% in 2009, but still far greater than the national average of 65%.

  • 81% of Louisiana’s 8th Graders are not proficient in math, a slight improvement from 80% in 2009, but still far greater than the national average of 67%.

  • 21% of Louisiana’s high schoolers don’t graduate on time, a big improvement from 29% in 2010-11, but still far greater than the national average of 16%.

 

Early Care and Education
 
According to Kids Count, almost half (49%) of Louisiana’s three and four-year-olds are not in preschool. This is better than the national average of 52%, but still far below what is desired. In our state, almost all of our at-risk four-year-olds can access a public Pre-K Program, but only around 35% of our three-year-olds can, and even fewer of our children birth through age two can access any publicly funded early care and education program.  

 

The New Orleans’ Times-Picayune Editorial Board responded to the new Kid Count Data in an editorial entitled Without Pre-K, Louisiana children start off at a disadvantage. Highlights of the editorial include:

 

In measurement after measurement, we don't do right by our youngest residents....The lack of preschool is one reason students get so far behind. And we're not doing nearly enough to remedy that. 

 

So the state didn't invest any more of its own money into these vital pre-K programs for the coming budget year. That needs to change next year. Lawmakers passed comprehensive legislation in 2012 aimed at improving the quality of preschool. But they haven't invested nearly enough money into that effort or into extending access to more children.

 

Investing in vulnerable children would improve their chances for success in school and in life. It would make it easier for their parents to work and strengthen Louisiana's economy. It's also the right thing to do.

 

Visit the Annie E. Casey Foundation's website to see Louisiana's data for all 16 measures or download the full report. For a breakdown by parish and indicator level click here.

 

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Legislative Wrap-Up and Other News

June 26, 2018

 

  • What Does the Budget Deal Mean for Early Childhood Ed Programs?

  • Louisiana Wins $10,000 at Harvard Challenge for Our Innovative Early Childhood Leadership Academy

 

What Does the Budget Deal Mean for Early Childhood Ed Programs?

 

After 15 weeks across four legislative sessions, the Louisiana Legislature adjourned on Sunday with a budget deal that shields most agencies from hefty cuts. The compromise came in a sales tax bill that renews 0.45 percent of an expiring 1 percent sales tax. The state sales tax rate will fall from 5 percent to 4.45 percent on July 1 and stay there until mid-2025.

 

State Funding for Pre-K Programs Will Remain Level

 

Without the funding generated by renewing a portion of the sales tax, the Louisiana Department of Education would have seen substantial cuts to its budget. At risk was:

 

  • 45 percent of funding for LA 4, which currently serves around 16,000 four-year-olds statewide.

  • All of the funding for the Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development (NSECD) Program, which serves an additional 1,400 four-year-olds statewide.  

 

The budget compromise means funding for Louisiana’s Pre-K Programs will remain level. In addition, the fact that the sales tax will continue for another seven years should provide stability for Louisiana’s budget in general, and the Pre-K Programs in particular. 

 

New Federal Funds Will Add Slots to the Child Care Assistance Program

 

The budget includes $28 million of new federal funds for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), the only state-administered program for early care and education for children under age four in Louisiana. CCAP provides subsidies for child care for low-income children whose parents are working, in school or in job training. The new dollars should fund over 4,000 children, of the current 5,200 children, on the waiting list, and represents the first substantial increase in CCAP funding in nine years.

 

Our Efforts Are Having an Impact

 

There was great momentum during the legislative sessions around early care and education. The topic was a consistent part of the conversation, with more legislators than ever before articulating its importance and the need to invest in it.

 

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children wishes to extend our thanks and gratitude to Governor John Bel Edwards and to all our legislative champions for their hard work and dedication to the young children of Louisiana, including:

 

  • Representative Stephanie Hilferty, who led the effort on House Bill 676 that creates the Louisiana Early Care and Education Commission.

  • Representative Steve Carter, who worked tirelessly throughout the Regular and Second Special Sessions to gain state funding for the Child Care Assistance Program.

  • Senator Eric Lafleur, who championed funding for early care and education in the Senate Finance Committee. 

  • Representatives Walt Leger and Gary Carter, who worked on the passage of House Bill 513 that would have dedicated money from the Unclaimed Property Leverage Fund to the Child Care Assistance Program. 

 

In Other News: Louisiana Wins $10,000 at Harvard Challenge for Our Innovative Early Childhood Leadership Academy

 

The Louisiana Department of Education and early childhood education leaders earned second place and $10,000 in funding for presenting the blueprint of a leadership academy for child care directors at the inaugural Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The funding will support a pilot of the developing program, which is scheduled to begin accepting applications in the spring of 2019.
  
The Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge, which recognizes promising new ideas and strategic approaches that have the potential to transform the quality of early education and drive lasting change and improvement, began with a written application process, and once selected, finalists were asked to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in front of a live audience at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 
 
Watch a recording of the 15 finalists' pitches here. Louisiana's pitch begins at 55:20.
 
The delegation from Louisiana included Emmy O'Dwyer, project lead with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE); Erin Carroll, LDE team member; Paula Polito, director of Beary Cherry Tree and chair of the state's Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council; and Monique Rouege, director of Carlie Care Kids. 

 

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Updates on Early Care and Education

May 14, 2018

 

  • Legislative Updates

  • Proposed Changes to Child Care Licensing Regulations

  • New Plan for Child Care and Development Fund Block Grant

  • Louisiana a Finalist in Harvard Education Initiative

 

Legislative Updates

 

House Bill 676 by Representative Stephanie Hilferty passed unanimously through the House and passed the Senate floor by a vote of 32-1. This bill establishes a two-year study commission to develop a long-term strategic plan for early care and education in Louisiana and provides for possible pilot programs. It is scheduled for House concurrence tomorrow and then will go to the Governor for his signature.


House Bill 513 by Representative Steve Carter was heard by the Senate Finance Committee last week. This bill sought to dedicate $10 million of the annual sale of unclaimed property to the Child Care Assistance Program, which currently has 5,200 children on the waiting list. The committee decided to hold the bill, which means it will not be passed this session, but the committee added the $10 million to the “below the line” items in the state budget (i.e., items that are not funded with current revenues). This means it could still be funded if sufficient revenue is raised during the Special Legislative Session that is expected to begin next week.
 

We are grateful to the Representatives and Senators who have been champions for early care and education this session. These include:

 

  • Representative Stephanie Hilferty who is the lead author on House Bill 676 and has championed it through the process.

  • Representative Steve Carter who is the lead author on House Bill 513 and championed it all the way through the House and in the Senate

  • Representative Walt Leger III for his leadership and advocacy on both bills.

  • Representative Gary Carter for his advocacy, especially on House Bill 513 throughout the process.

  • Senator Eric LaFleur, Chairman of Senate Finance, for his leadership in including the funding from House Bill 513 in the current budget with a possibility of funding in the Special Session.

  • Senator Conrad Appel for his support on these issues in the Senate Finance and Education Committees.

 

LDOE anticipates the revised regulations to be in effect during the winter of 2018, with additional time for compliance with child: staff ratios and group sizes.
 

The Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council will review the proposed updates at its next meeting on Thursday, May 17, at 1:00 pm. If you wish to attend, it will be held in the Thomas Jefferson Room of the Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge. The agenda can be found here. Live streaming can be found here.

 

 

New Plan for Child Care and Development Fund Block Grant

 

In addition to revising Bulletin 137, LDOE has been drafting the tri-annual Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan. This plan describes how the state will spend the federal funds and how it will comply with federal regulations, and generally covers licensing, child care assistance, background checks and quality improvement in child care.


The draft CCDF State Plan can be found here. The Department is interested in your input and will have a public hearing on May 29 at 10:00 a.m. at the Claiborne Building, Louisiana Purchase Room, 1201 North 3rd Street, Baton Rouge. You can also provide input by entering your comments here or emailing earlychildhood@la.gov.


The plan must be submitted by July 1 and will be in effect from October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2021.

 

Louisiana a Finalist in Harvard Education Initiative

 

The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education announced the finalists for its inaugural Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge. The Louisiana Department of Education was chosen as a finalist in the competition’s Pilot Track for the Leaders Louisiana Early Childhood Fellowship, a program that would create a Leadership Academy to train child care directors.


The Innovation Challenge is designed to promote promising new ideas and strategic approaches that have the potential to transform the quality of early education and to drive lasting change and improvement. The finalists will present their ideas at a pitch event on June 4, 2018, and the winners will receive funding for their programs.

Sen. Danny Martiny visits Beery Cherry Tree in Metairie. 
Sen. Gerald Boudreaux reads to children at Gethsemene LaPetit Early Childhood Development Center in Lafayette.
Rep. Pat Smith reads to children at A Lil' Ones Learning Center in Baton Rouge.
Sen. Barrow Peacock at the Arc Caddo-Bossier Goldman School and Child Development Center in Shreveport.
Rep. Polly Thomas at Beery Cherry Tree in Metairie.

Sen. Michael Walsworth at Little Flower Academy Early Childhood Development Center in Monroe

Rep. Royce Duplesis and Todd Batiste with the United Way of SE Louisiana

Rep. Joe Marino at Beery Cherry Tree in Metairie

Rep. Rick Edmonds at A Lil' Ones Learning Center in Baton Rouge

Sen. Ronnie Johns at the University United Methodist Day School in Lake Charles

Rep. Paula Davis at A Lil' Ones Learning Center in Baton Rouge