Bill would grade day care

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A network supervised by the state education board would oversee and assign letter grades to all publicly-funded early childhood education programs for children birth to five years old, under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate Education Committee.

Senate Bill 130, sponsored by state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, is enabling legislation for an early childhood initiative approved by the Legislature last year that established the Early Childhood Care and Education Network.

Appel’s SB130 would name the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as overseer of the network and require the department to establish and implement common standards for kindergarten readiness, assessment and accountability. The system would be in place by the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

All public schools and school districts, as well as private schools or centers that receive public funds, would be required to be part of the network and have their programs graded for kindergarten readiness.

The proposal moves to the full Senate for further debate.