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