Should early childhood education be a priority?It’s estimated that issues with early childhood education cost the state economy more than $1 billion per year. Business professionals and politicians agree that there is a severe lack of access to high-quality child care in the state. But with the state facing a $1 billion budget shortfall, can funds be found to make this a priority?
Louisiana School Finder, a first-of-its-kind performance guide on early care and education centers is a useful tool for parents seeking care for their children. Can it also be a mechanism to improve performance? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Early Education Matters” January 24th at 7 p.m. on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.
Our panelists are:
· Melanie Bronfin, La. Policy Institute for Children
· Rep. Stephen Carter, R-Baton Rouge; Education Committee
· Stephen Waguespack, La. Assoc. of Business & Industry
· Supt. John White, La. Dept. of Education
Barry Erwin, CEO of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) moderates the discussion.
The program includes interviews with Belinda Creel Davis, Ph.D., with the LSU Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs and co-author of the Losing Ground study of childcare issues and workforce productivity in Louisiana; Melinda George, Child Care Assistance Manager with the La. Dept. of Education; Brigitte Nieland, V.P. for Workforce and Education for the La. Assoc. of Business & Industry: and Shawanda Jefferson, a mother whose improved employment status has put her Child Care Assistance Program benefits in jeopardy.