Our Work

 

The Policy Institute seeks to be a source of non-partisan, independent information on issues concerning children ages birth through four in Louisiana.  We also develop policy proposals informed by data, research, best practices and the experiences of other states for improving the outcomes of Louisiana’s young children, and then provide educational and outreach activities around these recommendations.

 

Below are some examples of our policy proposals: 

 

Louisiana Early Learning Center Licensing Regulations

In November 2015, a draft version of Bulletin 137: Louisiana's Early Learning Center Licensing Regulations was developed by the Louisiana Department of Education and then brought to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for approval. The Insitute developed the following policy papers to inform policy makers and stakeholders on the regulations as originally proposed, seeking changes to be made before the regulations would be finally passed by BESE. 
 

 

As finally passed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the new regulations included many of the Policy Institute's recommendations--critical improvements over what had been originally proposed by LDOE and over what had existed in the past in Louisiana, including: 

  • Finally ending corporal punishment in child care in Louisiana

  • Restoring minimum qualifications for directors

  • Maintaining quality control on continuing education hours required for teachers

  • Limiting screen time for children

  • Requiring physical activity, increasing safety and quality standards for Type I centers

  • Requiring daily early learning activities

  • Requiring the daily schedule, as well as classroom teacher to child ratios, be posted

 

To read the final version of Bulletin 137, click here.

 

To read media coverage of these issues:

 

Louisiana's New Accountability and Enrollment Systems for Publicly Funded Early Care and Education Programs 

  

Under the Early Childhood Education Act (Act 3) of 2012, all publicly funded early care and education programs were mandated to receive a letter grade beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.  As initially proposed by the Louisiana Department of Education, this accountability system was to take the form of Report Cards for both individual early childhood programs and the community networks. The Policy Institute and Education’s Next Horizon released a Report with Recommendations in response to the initial draft of the Report Cards that included the following: 

 

The Institute also released questions and concerns for the statewide roundtable meetings on the Report Cards.

The regulations to implement the accountability system ultimately were included in proposed Bulletin 140, which also included the regulations to implement an enrollment system for all early care and education programs statewide.  In response to the initial draft of Bulletin 140, the Insitute developed:

 

The final version of Bulletin 140 as passed included few of the Policy Institute's recommendations on the Accountability System.  For this reason, the Institute worked with the Legislature to pass a revision of the Act 3 statute to provide that no letter grades could be assigned in the 2015-16 school year, and require a report by BESE to the Legislature on the implementation of Act 3 before the 2016 Legislative Session.  In addition, the Policy Institute ensured that there would be a number of opportunities to revise both the Accountability and Enrollment Systems before they go into full effect in the 2015-16 school year.

 

To read the final version of the Bulletin 140 as passed by BESE, click here.

 

To read media coverage of some of the issues:

 

  • Study sees 'serious flaws' in Louisiana's proposed system for grading Pre-k programs 

     Advocate-March 30, 2015

  • Flaws abound in Louisiana's draft preschool report cards, group says

     Times-Picayune/NOLA.com-March 30, 2015

  • Some day care directors critical of proposed pre-school revamp

     Times-Picayune/NOLA.com-June 14, 2015

  • BESE committee partially approves preschool grades policy Tuesday

     Times-Picayune/NOLA.com-June 16, 2015

  • State Education Board Addresses Preschools Concerns

     Times-Picayune/NOLA.com-June 16, 2015

 

Increased Investment in Louisiana's Early Care and Education Programs  

The Institute has worked tirelessly to increase awareness of the severe lack of funding for early care and education in Louisiana, including both the Child Care Assistance and Pre-K Programs, and to protect the current funding.   

 

The School Readiness Tax Credits (SRTC), which started in 2008, are

unique to Louisiana and have received national recognition.  Over 15 bills were introduced in the 2015 Legislative Session that would have decreased or eliminated these credits. The Policy Institute led a coalition of advocates to protect them, and through these efforts they did remain whole. 

  • As part of these efforts, the Institute released a Policy Brief to describe the benefits and successful support they are for Louisiana's Early Childhood Care and Education.

 

In the 2015 Legislative Session, the Policy Institute and its advocacy partners worked with the Representative Helena Moreno to pass House Concurrent Resolution 174 that calls upon State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to identify sources of state and federal funds available in Louisiana for early childhood care and education, as well as additional potential funding sources used by other states for such purpose, and submit to Legislature a written proposal of funding mechanisms and a corresponding strategy for implementation of an $80 million increase in funding for early care and education programs.  

 

The Policy Institute has led a coalition called READY LOUISIANA of over 30 organizations statewide that are advocating for Increased Investment in early care and education in Louisiana.

 

To read some of the media coverage of this issue: