On behalf of the Louisiana Department of Education, Assistant State Superintendent Jessica Baghian today issued a statement regarding Gov. John Bel Edwards’s executive budget, which allocates an additional $25.1 million for children below the age of 4. She said:
“Today’s budget announcement is a positive step toward addressing Louisiana’s crisis of access to high-quality early childhood education, as it provides funded early education services for an additional 4,000 in-need children below the age of 4.
Investing in quality early childhood education is among the smartest investments we can make; it positively impacts our economy, our families, and our children. Yet, as outlined in the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission’s LA B to 3 report, access to quality early care and education remains a significant challenge, particularly for children in need below the age of 4. More than 100,000 children in need lack access to quality care despite having families who are working and in school, and many working middle class families still struggle to afford high-quality care options. Louisiana should invest more to support all families, regardless of need, to guide their child’s healthy development and kindergarten readiness.
Louisiana successfully confronted the lack of access for 4-year-olds. The same is possible for our youngest children. Louisiana should commit to a long-term plan that fully confronts this challenge. The Commission has taken solid steps to laying out that path. We must build on their work.”