Early childhood bill advances

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A state Senate-passed bill that would spell out details of a 2012 law to overhaul early childhood education in Louisiana cleared the House Education Committee on Wednesday.

The measure, Senate Bill 130, next faces action on the Louisiana House floor.

Last year’s law calls for early learning performance guidelines for those from zero to age 3 and academic standards for 3- and 4-year-olds.

In addition, pre-kindergarten centers and schools will get letter grades, and state aid will be linked to how the centers perform.

The changes take effect in the 2015-16 school year.

“I cannot make it any more simple,” said state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metaire and sponsor of the proposal.

“For those children we can affect we have to get them ready for kindergarten,” Appel said. “If we don’t have children up and running and ready for kindergarten then we can assume those children will be our dropouts and failures later in life.”