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Nov 1, 2012 6:33 PM by Jenise Fernandez

Changes could be in Store for Pre-K Schools Across the State

Parents listen up: changes could be in store for Pre-K schools across the state. Louisiana's education superintendent, John White has a new plan to hold these schools accountable, or put them at risk of losing state funds. White wants Pre-K schools and centers to get letter grades. Those grades would be based on how well children are prepared for Kindergarten. The state also plans to better train Pre-K instructors.
Superintendent White made it clear that the state will take its time with implementing these changes. The plan is to be phased in by the 2015-2016 school year.

President of the Louisiana Headstart board of directors, Alvin Jones, is concerned with how White's plan will work, since Headstart is funded through federal dollars, not state dollars.

"We have program standards we have to meet federally and the state has standards that they have to meet," said Jones.

BESE board member Lottie Beebe is also concerned with the impact this could have on Headstart. She doesn't like the idea of giving letter grades to Pre-K schools and centers.

"Students come to school with so many issues. Those external variables are difficult to capture," said Beebe.

Beebe thinks schools should be held accountable, but has questions about White's plan.

"The devil's in the details which makes me skeptical. I was taken aback that he said we shouldn't move to hastily with this process which is contrary to the education reform discussion with K-12," she added.

BESE will discuss white's proposals in December. The building blocks of the plan are due in March.



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