Title 17. Education
Chapter 1. General School Law
Part X-a. Louisiana Early Childhood Education
17:407.23 Early Childhood Care and Education Network; creation; components; duties and responsibilities; pilot programs
A. Not later than July 1, 2013, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, hereinafter called the state board, shall create a comprehensive and integrated network through which to manage and oversee all programs funded through state or federal resources that provide early childhood care or educational services.
B. To facilitate the creation of this network, the state board shall:
(1) Establish a definition of kindergarten readiness aligned with state content standards for elementary and secondary schools.
(2) Establish performance targets for children under the age of three and academic standards for kindergarten readiness for three- and four-year old children to be used in publicly funded early childhood education programs.
(3)(a) Create a uniform assessment and accountability system for publicly funded early childhood education programs that includes a letter grade indicative of student performance.
(b) The state board shall designate the 2015-2016 school year as an academic learning year in which a three-level rating system, not to be based on letter grades nor used for consequences, shall be used to create practice performance profiles for publicly funded sites and the community networks in which they are included. The state board and the state Department of Education shall specify in public communications that any ratings assigned during the 2015-2016 school year are practice ratings for the academic learning year. The state board shall submit a written report on the progress of the academic learning year to the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education not later than forty-five days prior to the 2016 Regular Session of the Legislature.
(4) Coordinate with the Department of Children and Family Services and the Louisiana Department of Health to align the standards for the licensing of child care facilities, including the requirements for participation in the Louisiana Quality Start Child Care Rating System, with the standards established for early childhood education programs.
(5) Establish a timeline for the creation and implementation of the early childhood care and education network that shall be fully implemented by the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.
(6) Incorporate feedback from the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission into a statewide policy on local governance and coordination.
C. (1) In creating this network, the state board, through the state Department of Education, shall work cooperatively and collaboratively with the Department of Children and Family Services and the Louisiana Department of Health to establish a seamless early childhood educational system that is coordinated and integrated across all programs and related state agencies, regardless of public funding source.
(2)(a) The state Department of Education shall submit the plans and recommendations formulated by the impacted agencies to Louisiana’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, the Child Care Association of Louisiana, and the nonpublic school commission appointed by the state board pursuant to R.S. 17:11 for review and comment.
(b) Each reviewing entity shall submit its comments and recommendations to the state Department of Education, which shall prepare a summary report to be submitted to the state board for its consideration not later than January 1, 2013.
(3) By not later than March 1, 2013, the state board shall submit a written report to each member of the legislature, the Senate Committee on Education secretary, and the House Committee on Education secretary on the status of development of the early childhood care and education network. Such report shall include but not be limited to any recommendations relative to changes in law or administrative policy needed to properly implement the network.
D. (1) The state board may use available public and private funds to implement new strategies to increase access to and improve the quality of early childhood care and education programs by establishing pilot programs in high-performing community early childhood care and education networks established by the state board pursuant to this Section. Lead agencies of high-performing community networks, as identified by the state board, may elect to participate in the pilot programs. The findings from these pilot programs shall be used to inform statewide efforts to improve the effectiveness of local early childhood care and education programs.
(2) A community network participating in a pilot program shall:
(a) Measure the need for affordable access to quality early childhood care and education for children from birth through age four within the community.
(b) Establish a local, collaborative governing structure for shared decisionmaking.
(c) Identify shared resources that can support improved access to and quality of early childhood care and education programs for children from birth through age four and determine how resources can be leveraged to maximize the impact of such programs for each age year.
(d) Determine how future financial support should be used to expand access to and improve quality of infant, toddler, and prekindergarten classrooms in the local community.
<Par. (D)(3) effective until July 1, 2022. See italic note following this section.>
(3) The state Department of Education shall provide updates on the pilot programs to the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission.
E. (1) The state board shall coordinate and report data relative to the early childhood care and education network in a manner that assists legislators in evaluating the effectiveness of the network and in determining the most efficient and effective allocation of funding and services to maximize opportunities for children aged birth through five to achieve kindergarten readiness.
(2) The state board shall submit to the House Committee on Education, Senate Committee on Education, House Committee on Appropriations, and Senate Committee on Finance a written report not later than sixty days prior to each regular session of the legislature. The report shall include, at minimum, the following information:
(a) The number of children participating in the network and demographic information pertaining to their age, race, and socioeconomic status.
(b) The areas of greatest need according to geographic location and student population for the purpose of prioritizing funding and services.
F. The state board shall create a program to be administered by the state Department of Education through which parents whose children are not enrolled in an early learning center due to the lack of available seats or funding are able to access instructional materials in order to provide instruction to the children at home. The department shall use the data ascertained in accordance with Subsection E of this Section in order to conduct outreach to communities and families in need of such materials and to identify the most effective and efficient means to deliver these materials. These materials shall be aligned to the birth to five early learning and development standards adopted by the state board in order to maximize the children’s opportunity to achieve kindergarten readiness.
Added by Acts 2012, No. 3, § 1, eff. April 18, 2012. Amended by Acts 2015, No. 364, § 1; Acts 2017, No. 97, § 1; Acts 2018, No. 639, § 1; Acts 2020, No. 180, § 1, eff. June 11, 2020; Acts 2021, No. 198, § 1.