Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:
American Press, Lake Charles, La., on pre-K education reform being approved:
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to establish standards and accountability for prekindergarten education has, according to proponents, hit a snag: lack of funding.
State lawmakers approved the governor’s Pre-K education reform package, known as Act 3, in 2012, and pilot programs have been established in 15 parishes, including Calcasieu. Another 15 parishes are expected to roll out pilot programs later this year.
But early childhood advocates say the implementation has been hindered by the lack of new dollars.
“If you are not funding at a level to provide quality, then how are you going to get it?” said Melanie Bronfin, director of the Policy Institute with the Louisiana Partnership for Children & Families in New Orleans.
Act 3 was designed to ensure that public, private and government-funded early education programs adhered to certain standards and benchmarks for their students. Its goal is to establish early-learning performance guidelines for children from infants to age 3 and academic standards for 3- and 4-year-olds.
By providing these various programs with standards, the Jindal administration hopes to alleviate the alarmingly high percentage of children who enter kindergarten programs measurably behind their peer group and/or not ready to learn.
Part of the issue is a nearly 60 percent cut in federal money that funded the Child Care Assistance Program. The program is overseen by the state Department of Children and Family Services.
State Superintendent of Education John White said the reform is doable without an infusion of more money.
Insisting on standards to improve early childhood education in Louisiana and funding it may not be at the top of the agenda for most state lawmakers in the coming legislative session, but few topics have as much potential to impact the overall quality of education in Louisiana.