Ready Louisiana Coalition 2021 Legislative

Joint Statement

The Ready Louisiana Coalition, a bipartisan group of more than 90 Chambers of Commerce, civic organizations, and advocacy organizations, believes that investing in high-quality early care and education will prepare our students for a smart start in life, enable families to be productive in the workforce, and serve as an economic engine for local communities. We believe this is a critical moment for Louisiana as the state continues to recover from the pandemic, the 2020 hurricane season, and the resulting economic downturns. Investing in early care and education prepares our youngest children for school success, allows their parents to go to work, provides businesses with a reliable workforce, and pays dividends into our economy.

 

Louisiana employers lose hundreds of millions every year from employee absences and turnover due to child care issues. Meanwhile, the pandemic is having a devastating impact on the child care sector. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children has found that between March 2020 and January 2021, the early care and education sector lost an estimated $245 million, even with the availability of federal aid. As of January 2021, data from the Louisiana Department of Education suggests the state has permanently lost over 3,300 child care seats. Louisiana cannot afford to lose its capacity to offer early care and education to its working parents.

We know that investing in early care and education is one of the best investments we can make, with a return on investment of up to 13% per year. We know that the lack of affordable, quality early care affects not only the workforce of tomorrow, but also has a substantial impact on the workforce of today, in terms of both worker participation and productivity. The pandemic highlighted a stark reality for many Louisiana families and businesses--parents cannot go to work without access to reliable care for their children. Finally, we know that providing children with high-quality early care and education will help to ensure that they are prepared to be successful students and thriving members in their communities. Now, more than ever, Louisiana needs to:

 

We urge our leaders:

  • Appropriate $86 million to expand access to quality early care and education programs for CCAP-eligible families.

  • Create a robust source of ongoing funding to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund by committing all revenues from sports betting, both in-person and online.

  • Continue to use federal stimulus funds to stabilize the early care and education sector, which is critical to our economy and which has lost hundreds of millions of dollars since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Louisiana needs to invest more in children.

Ninety percent of brain development takes place between birth and age four. Research shows that children who receive high-quality early care and education experience long-term improved outcomes in education, health, and social behaviors. However, high-quality child care is neither accessible nor affordable for many families in Louisiana. While two-thirds of Louisiana children have both their parents or their single parent in the workforce, less than 15% of low-income children under age four have access to a quality, publicly funded early care and education program.

 

Two years ago, the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission found in the LA B to 3 Report that the state needed to invest $86 million a year for a decade to close that gap and ensure that all Louisiana children begin kindergarten ready to succeed. Despite these findings, the state has yet to make the investment needed to close this gap. We, the Ready Louisiana Coalition, urge our leaders to invest $86 million in early care and education programs during the 2021 Fiscal Session.

 

Louisiana needs investment in families from multiple sources.

The Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund (Fund) offers local entities a dollar-for-dollar state match to fund early care and education programs, but to-date the revenue sources for the Fund have not resulted in a meaningful amount. While a handful of cities and parishes from across Louisiana have begun the critical work of investigating how to best invest in our youngest children, our state needs to do more and to help local governments do more. 


In November 2020, sports betting was on the Louisiana ballot. Proponents of the measure specifically called out the need to fund early care and education as a reason to vote yes, and voters in 55 of 64 parishes ultimately chose to authorize sports betting. As policymakers begin to create the laws and regulations surrounding sports betting, the Ready Louisiana Coalition urges them to make choices that will impact multiple generations of Louisianans. Louisiana needs to create a robust funding stream for the Fund to incentivize and match local investments. The Ready Louisiana Coalition urges our leaders to commit all revenues from sports betting, both in person and online, to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund.

 

Louisiana needs to invest more in critical infrastructure.

The early care and education sector is the industry that allows all other industries to go to work. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this sector is especially financially vulnerable at a time when access to quality early care and education is increasingly critical but out of reach for too many Louisiana families. Survey results from the Louisiana Association of United Ways found that changes in child care access during the pandemic led to a loss of jobs for 28% of ALICE (asset-limited, income-constrained, employed) caregivers, and 15% of ALICE caregivers reduced their work hours. An unsupported early care and education sector isn’t just bad for families. It is bad for Louisiana businesses and the Louisiana economy, which lost $1.1 billion every due to childcare breakdowns even before the pandemic, according to a study from the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. We urge our leaders to continue to use federal stimulus funds to stabilize the early care and education sector, which is critical to our economy and which has lost hundreds of millions of dollars since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Following 98 Organizations Join In Support of This Statement
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Gulf Coast Resources

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Hayes Strategic Solutions

Innovations in Education

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MMB LA LLC

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Early Learning Focus

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​Business Organizations
  1. Baton Rouge Area Chamber
  2. Business Council of New Orleans
  3. Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce 
  4. Chamber Southwest Louisiana
  5. Committee of 100 for Economic Development, Inc.
  6. Committee of 100 of Northwest Louisiana
  7. East St. Tammany Chamber
  8. Gambel Communications
  9. Greater New Orleans Inc.
  10. Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce
  11. Gulf Coast Resources Louisiana
  12. Hayes Strategic Solutions
  13. Hispanic Chamber of New Orleans
  14. Innovations in Education
  15. Jefferson Business Council
  16. Jefferson Chamber
  17. Kenner Business Association
  18. Link Restaurant Group
  19. Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
  20. Louisiana Early Childhood Business Roundtable
  21. Monroe Chamber of Commerce
  22. MMB LA LLC
  23. Natchitoches Chamber
  24. New Orleans Business Alliance
  25. New Orleans Chamber
  26. New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce
  27. North Louisiana Economic Partnership
  28. Northshore Business Council 
  29. One Acadiana
  30. River Region Chamber of Commerce
  31. Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  32. ResourceFull Consulting 
  33. Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
  34. St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce
  35. The New Orleans Coalition
​United Ways
  1. Capital Area United Way
  2. Louisiana Association of United Ways
  3. St. John United Way
  4. St. Landry Evangeline United Way
  5. United Way of Acadiana
  6. United Way of Central Louisiana 
  7. United Way of Iberia
  8. United Way of Northeast Louisiana
  9. United Way of Northwest Louisiana
  10. United Way of Southeast Louisiana
  11. United Way of Southwest Louisiana
  12. Women United – United Way of Southeast Louisiana
  13. Women United – United Way of Southwest Louisiana
  14. Women United – St. Landry Evangeline United Way
Faith Organizations
  1. Bread or Stones Campaign
  2. National Council of Jewish Women, Greater New Orleans Section
​Community & Advocacy Organizations
  1. Agenda for Children 
  2. American Association of University Women of 
         Louisiana
  3. American Heart Association
  4. Baton Rouge Early Childhood Education Collaborative 
  5. Beary Cherry Tree
  6. Carlie Care Kids
  7. Center for Development and Learning
  8. Child Care Association of Louisiana 
  9. Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana  
  10. Citizens for One Greater New Orleans 
  11. Early Learning Focus
  12. Education's Next Horizons 
  13. Education Right Now Louisiana
  14. Ellevate Louisiana
  15. Health and Education Alliance of Louisiana
  16. Independent Women’s Organization
  17. Institute of Mental Hygiene  
  18. Jefferson Early Childhood Collaborative Network
  19. Kids of Excellence
  20. Kingsley House
  21. League of Women Voters of Louisiana 
  22. Lift Louisiana
  23. Louisiana Budget Project
  24. Louisiana CASA
  25. Louisiana Children’s Museum
  26. Louisiana Chapter - American Association of Pediatrics
  27. Louisiana NOW
  28. Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families
  29. Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
  30. Louisiana Progress
  31. Louisiana Public Health Institute
  32. My Training Grounds
  33. National Council of 100 Black Women, Greater New Orleans Chapter
  34. New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
  35. New Orleans NOW
  36. NSU Child and Family Network
  37. Orleans Public Education Network
  38. Ready Start Jefferson
  39. Save the Children Action Network
  40. Step Forward
  41. Stand for Children Louisiana
  42. The Early Childhood Development Center of Avoyelles
  43. The Education Trust
  44. The Power Coalition for Equity & Justice
  45. Urban League of Louisiana
  46. Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge