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Louisiana Launches Pilot Programs To Increase Early Childhood Education

B. Lenox/KEDM

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) this week approved 13 additional communities to pilot local strategies to increase access to and improve the quality of publicly-funded early childhood care and education. The action follows legislation passed in 2018 that allowed BESE to create and fund the pilot programs, which can now be found in 26 communities statewide.

These community-based pilot programs, called Ready Start Networks, are coalitions of individuals committed to creating and implementing a bold local vision for early childhood education. They 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 work will be guided by early childhood lead agencies in Allen, Assumption, Caddo, Caldwell, Lincoln, Sabine, St. Charles, St. Landry, St. Martin, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Webster and West Baton Rouge parishes.

These communities join the initial seven Ready Start Networks approved in January 2019 and the additional six approved in August 2019.