Louisiana’s youngest need early education programs to succeed
September 21, 2022
− United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s high impact leadership group focused on issues surrounding poverty.
An overwhelmingly large number, 60%, of Louisiana's kindergarten students are already behind their peers on the first day of school. Testing our 4th graders now shows 75% are not proficient in math or English. Our state continues to fall short year after in Education, yet we know where the problem begins.
High-quality preschool programs set the stage for future learning, yet Louisiana continues to lack the ability to prioritize these crucial learning centers for our low-income and working families. Quality early care translates into higher payoffs for society because children in those programs tend to have high improved reading and math skills in elementary and middle school, reduced numbers of repeated grades and a higher likelihood of graduating. Although Governor Edwards recently announced $94 million for this purpose in his executive budget proposal, we will continue to be severely underfunded.
93% of a child's brain development occurs from birth to age 4. This is a well-established fact. High-quality early education is essential for future learning, skill development and well-being in school. The lack of availability for low-income children leaves public school teachers and low-income working families struggling to succeed.
The lack of investment in early education across the state is translating into chronic teacher shortages, childcare breakdowns causing $1.3 billion in business losses each year and a declining number of highly skilled workers in the workforce.
When working parents cannot find or afford quality childcare for those vital years, they cannot be an asset to our economy. Louisiana needs to invest in all children from birth to age four to arrive prepared and on time on their first day of kindergarten. Louisiana needs to invest in all children from birth to age four, so their parents can work each day assured their most valuable asset is receiving the care and education they deserve.
Let your legislators know you expect more. Let them know you join us in asking that all children, regardless of income, deserve the proper foundation to succeed and enjoy a bright future.