Aug 14, 2014

Council to Advise BESE, Department as State Unifies Fragmented Early Childhood System

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Department of Education today released the
application for membership on the newly created Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council, which will advise BESE and the Department in implementing the landmark unification of the state’s early childhood systems. The council, created through Act 868 of the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, will provide an additional opportunity inform policies related to the unification launched by Act 3 of the 2012 legislative session, which established unified expectations for child care, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten programs.

The implementation of Act 3 has been led by the state’s Early Childhood Care and Education Network pilots, which now operate in more than half of the school districts in the state. Pilots have adopted unified academic expectations, shared enrollment processes, and collaborative teacher training across child care, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten programs. In years hence, the state will further the unification of funding, teacher preparation, and evaluating program quality.

The Early Childhood Care and Education Network Advisory Council will be comprised of seventeen voting members and thirteen non-voting members, as described in
Act 868. In the upcoming year, the council will be asked to weigh in on critical policies including child care licensing, teacher preparation, funding equity, enrollment coordination, and a report card system for evaluating program quality.

“Too few children come into kindergarten ready to learn,” said Superintendent John White. “Unifying our fragmented system of early childhood care and education will allow greater access, greater equity, and greater child development. The Council will be a guiding force in that process.”

“Early childhood development is a critical component in a child’s education, creating the foundation for learning and success in the future,” said Holly Boffy, BESE secretary-treasurer. “The formation of this advisory council, and the recommendations brought forward will help ensure that policy development is in sync with the needs of young children.”

“Head Start is excited to be an integral part of the Advisory Council on Early Childhood Care and Education,” said Alvin Jones, President of the Louisiana Head Start Association. “Having a transparent method of advising the department and BESE on early childhood as a whole will help in making policies to improve the care and education of Louisiana’s youngest learners.”

In 2012, the Louisiana Legislature passed
Act 3, creating the Early Childhood Care and Education Network, which calls on the state to take a system of early childhood that is fragmented into multiple, inequitable systems and unify it under one set of standards. The first cohort of 13 pilots, representing 17 districts, launched in July 2013. A second cohort of 16 pilots, representing an additional 17 districts, launched in April 2014 bringing the total number of participating districts to 34 or halfway to full statewide implementation. By fall 2015, early childhood providers statewide will participate in a unified network.

With implementation underway, the Department and local network pilots are partnering to:

  • Unify academic expectations
  • Create a shared enrollment process
  • Evaluate program quality
  • Collaborate on teacher training across programs

To access the Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council application, please click
here to download the application or here to fill out an online application. For consideration, applications must be returned by August 29. Decisions on council members will be made at BESE’s October meeting. The advisory council will meet at least four times a year with the first meeting in November in Baton Rouge.

To view the Early Childhood Roadmap to 2015 Vision, please click

For more information on the Early Childhood Care and Education Network, please click

# # # # # #