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Lousiana Bills Would Stamp Preschool Programs with Letter Grades

Louisiana lawmakers would link public funding for preschools to student performance and stamp public and private early-childhood programs with letter grades under two different proposals now under consideration in the legislature.

Both Senate bills, which zoomed through the body with little opposition earlier this week, are expected to garner a similar reaction in the House, the Associated Press reported.

They are an attempt to further articulate requirements under the 2012 Louisiana Early Childhood Education Act, which requires that a standard definition of kindergarten readiness be reached, a performance target for all children be established, and uniform assessment and accountability systems be created, among other practices.

"Our current system isn't working—it's confusing to parents and burdensome for providers," said Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal in a press release.

The first bill, authored by Republican Sen. Conrad Appel, would strip schools of funding if their students cannot meet specific—and as of yet unspecified—standards, the Associated Press reported. It would also house all preschool programs under the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, changing the current scenario that allows different programs to be controlled by varying bodies.

The second bill, penned by Republican Sen. Mike Walsworth, would set new licensing guidelines. It would, furthermore, define which preschools and day care centers would be required to be graded.

Louisiana ranks 49th in the nation for early-childhood education, the Associated Press reports.

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