Airs Sunday, February 4, 2018, at 6 p.m. It’s estimated that issues with early childhood education cost the state economy more than $1 billion per year. Business professionals and politicians agree that there is a severe lack of access to high-quality child care in the state. But with the state facing a $1 billion budget shortfall, can funds be found to make this a priority?
Louisiana School Finder, a first-of-its-kind performance guide on early care and education centers is a useful tool for parents seeking care for their children. Can it also be a mechanism to improve performance? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “Early Education Matters.” Our panelists are:• Melanie Bronfin, La. Policy Institute for Children• Rep. Stephen Carter, R-Baton Rouge; Education Committee• Stephen Waguespack, La. Assoc. of Business & Industry• Supt. John White, La. Dept. of Education Barry Erwin, CEO of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) will moderate the discussion. The program includes interviews with Belinda Creel Davis, Ph.D., with the LSU Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs and co-author of the Losing Ground study on childcare issues and job productivity; Melinda George, Child Care Assistance Manager with the La. Dept. of Education; Brigitte Nieland, V.P. of Workforce and Education for the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry (LABI): and Shawanda Jefferson, a mother whose improved employment status has put her Child Care Assistance Program benefits in jeopardy.