La. lawmakers talk about importance of mandatory kindergarten

Changes impact children who turn 5 on or before Sept. 30 starting with the 2022-23 school year
The law making kindergarten mandatory for all children in Louisiana goes into effect in 2022.
The law making kindergarten mandatory for all children in Louisiana goes into effect in 2022.(KSLA)
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 1:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:23 PM EDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Some Louisiana officials held a news conference Wednesday, June 23 to discuss the importance of early childhood education.

District 14 state Sen. Cleo Fields and educators held the news conference at Shreve Island Elementary School in Shreveport to discuss a new state law that makes kindergarten mandatory for all children who are five before September 30.

Act 386, the result of legislation filed by Fields, went into effect June 16 but is not required to be implemented by school districts until the 2022-23 academic year.

“It is so important that parents get their kids involved in education early,” Fields said.

He says he pushed for the bill because he does not want to see any child left behind.

“90 percent of the brain develops between birth and five years old, so this bill is so important because early childhood matters,” he said.

The senate backed new law by 38-0 and in the House of Representatives it was a 70- 32 vote. According to Associated Press, Representative Raymond Crews believes parents should be able to make their own decisions.

“How do we know that being with family is not more important than being in school? To me this looks like we’re trying to parent our children through schools,” said Crews.

Retired teacher, Emma Shepard said it will decrease the number of older kids in the classroom.

“I’ve had kids come to school at seven years of age, and they have to start at kindergarten because they didn’t have the basic skills to go on to first grade,” she said.

According to the Education Commission of the States, 19 states and the District of Columbia require that children attend kindergarten, and Louisiana will make 20.

Travis Harris explained how it helped his daughter.

“She was not reading at the beginning of the school year and she’s reading now,” he said.

Senator Fields said there are only two exceptions to this law and that’s if your child turns five after September 30, and if your child is in a pre-kindergarten program, they are exempt to this rule.

The law making kindergarten mandatory for all children in Louisiana goes into effect in 2022.
The law making kindergarten mandatory for all children in Louisiana goes into effect in 2022.(KSLA)

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