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Advocates push for early childhood education in Baton Rouge

May 21, 2019 - 2:08 pm
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It's Early Childhood Education Day at the Capitol, and proponents are hoping to convince lawmakers to pump 31-million dollars more into a program that subsidizes early childhood programs for working class families.

Giving kids a good educational foundation is vital to their academic future, according to the Executive Director for Louisiana Policy institute for Children, Melanie Bronfin.  

“Today we have over 40 percent of our students starting kindergarten behind, and of course if you start behind, because of brain development, you are very likely to stay behind,” Bronfin said. 

She says 80 percent of brain development occurs before reaching the age of  3.
 
15 thousand kids are in the early childhood subsidy program.  That number is down from 39,000 in 2008, but Bronfin estimates that if the program was funded even more families would take interest. 

Governor Edwards calls for 39 million in new K through12 education funding, but many Republicans say that money should go towards early childhood education. 

But Bronfin says no successful educational program is successful without both.  

“It shouldn’t be that you invest in K through 12, or higher ed, or early childhood, we need to be investing in all of those things," Bronfin added. 

31-million is needed to cover the 5,100 families who are waiting for assistance from the Child Care Assistance Program, according to Bronfin.

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