Covering Louisiana

Sep 27, 2013 4:21 PM by AP (PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)

La. won't apply for $44M federal education grant

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana won't apply for $44 million in federal grant money available to the state for early childhood education programs.

Superintendent of Education John White made the decision. He notified Chas Roemer, president of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, in a letter Friday.

Several groups urged White to apply, saying the money would help with ongoing efforts to strengthen early childhood programs.

White wrote that federal education funding has become a "flashpoint" in local political debates. He says seeking the grant could distract from work on improving early childhood education.

White didn't blame anyone directly for his decision, but his comments fold into a larger debate. Tea party supporters are trying to pressure White to reverse Louisiana's use of national testing standards, calling them a tool of federal coercion.

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