Supporting a Smart Start for Our Youngest Learners

What does it take to truly ensure our students are ready to learn and take on the world? We know that a child’s brain develops the most from the moment they are born until the age of four. Those few years are some of the most important for a child’s development, and it is our belief that they deserve to spend those formative years in the care of those who know how to engage, prepare and teach them so that they can enter their K-12 education ready to excel.

46% of kindergarteners in the state of Louisiana begin their education already trailing their peers because of a lack of access to high quality early care and learning programs that would set them up for success. When a student starts behind, it often becomes a struggle for them to catch up.

Every day Louisiana parents are forced to make tough decisions about who will care for their children while they work. High quality care in Louisiana costs almost as much as public college tuition, and is impossible for many working parents to access. 30% of employed parents report that child care issues caused them to be late, miss work or perform poorly.

ACT 3 of 2012, passed by the Louisiana Legislature, mandated an overhaul of the current early learning system. Unfortunately the estimated $208 million needed by 2020 to make these crucial changes for our youngest students has been hard to come by. Deep budget cuts have forced lawmakers to put off allocating funds towards this vital initiative. It is our goal to help change that so that more parents can be productive members of the workforce, and more young Louisiana children can get the start that they deserve.

The Ready Louisiana Coalition is working to ensure that all children can have access to great early learning programs. If you are interested in securing a smart start for all of Louisiana’s children, take the pledge today or find out how your organization can become a part of the Ready Louisiana Coalition.