New Orleans – Mayor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans City Council Members and early childhood education advocates will gather Monday, December 18, 2017 at 1:30 P.M. in the Mayor’s office in celebration of the historic, first-of-its-kind, $750,000 City investment in quality early childhood education seats in New Orleans.
“I am so proud to have been part of crafting a budget that invests in building stronger people rather than trying to repair broken ones. The way this Council has budgeted for the past three years has been an entirely new way of engaging with the issues. We are setting people up to succeed instead of waiting for them to fail. The $750,000 allocated for early childhood education is an unprecedented investment in this city’s children. We cannot have a successful New Orleans without providing avenues for learning and growth. I am so proud of this Council and this administration’s work in approving a budget this year that is truly focusing on and investing in the people of New Orleans,” said City Council President Jason Williams.
“This commitment to our youngest learners signals a commitment to the future of the city of New Orleans. For the first time, we are investing city dollars into educational programs which we know will help to close the educational achievement gap, prepare our students for Kindergarten, increase the percentage of children reading on grade level, and decrease violent crime over the course of time,” stated Ron McClain, Executive Director of the Institute of Mental Hygiene.
The Institute of Mental Hygiene partnered with the United Way of Southeast Louisiana last year to launch the New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a community-wide effort to ensure every New Orleans child can read on grade level by the end of the third grade. This coalition joined Stand for Children, Democrats for Education Reform and others to advocate for increased municipal investment in young children.
“In New Orleans, we fight for the education of all children,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO. “We recognize that education is a cornerstone for success in school, work and life, and this mobilization of funds will benefit our whole community and build better, brighter futures for all.”
This commitment puts the City of New Orleans on-par with investments in early education made by just a handful of other progressive cities across the nation and marks the beginning of a long-term commitment to the families of New Orleans. It leverages years of investments from private philanthropy, the State of Louisiana, and federal programs like Early Head Start.
"It is wonderful to see the Council lead the way by investing in early care and education," said Melanie Bronfin, Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. "Hopefully other municipalities and legislators across the state take notice. What the New Orleans City Council has done here is a great first step, but we really need to see this level of effort and commitment from the state as well. As of now, only 15 percent of Louisiana children age birth to four have access to publicly funded childcare. This is a good start, but we have a long way to go."
“This is an investment that the parents and families we represent have been asking for and working towards for years. We look forward to working with Mayor-Elect LaToya Cantrell and the newly-elected New Orleans City Council to continue to fund and grow this extremely important investment for New Orleans children and families,” stated Dana Henry, Stand for Children Louisiana New Orleans City Director.
“Ensuring every child in New Orleans enters school ready to succeed will require creative approaches and the investment of the public and private sectors. We are excited to see this investment from the City of New Orleans and look forward to leveraging it to continue to support the success of children and families,” said Keith Liederman, Chief Executive Officer of Kingsley House and Board Chair of the New Orleans Early Education Network.
"Thank you to Mayor Landrieu and his staff, as well as the members of the New Orleans City Council for choosing to invest in our youngest learners. Over the last several years, we've seen huge improvements in student achievement throughout the city of New Orleans. But we must continue making improvements across areas of public education so our students can continue making strides toward success. For far too long, there has been a significant gap in providing services for 0-3-year-olds; we know that expanding access to safe and high-quality learning environments allows parents and families to succeed in the workplace and continue providing for their families. This new budget line item is the first step of many that will help close that gap. DFER LA is grateful to work with our current administration and council and we look forward to working with the incoming city administration and city council to ensure these services and others--including mental health services and other wrap-around services--are afforded to every child in our city," said Eva Kemp, Democrats for Education Reform State Director.
In addition to the Mayor and City Councilmembers, members of the New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will be available for comments.
About the New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative of leaders from government, business, education, families and the nonprofit sector who have committed to working together for the next decade to increase the number of New Orleans students who are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. We are doing this by focusing on three primary drivers of third-grade reading: increasing the number of children who enter school ready to learn, improving attendance during the critical early years, and preventing summer learning loss. For more information, please visit www.nolagradelevelreading.org. Find us on social: @NOLAGLR.
About Kingsley House
At Kingsley House, we envision a city and region where all young children are ready to succeed and all citizens are healthy and economically stable. Recognizing that vulnerable families are at risk of being caught in an intractable cycle of poverty, we are committed to ensuring that individuals and families have the supports necessary to be successful at all stages of life. To accomplish our goals, we join forces with dedicated community partners. Collectively, we work with families to fuel economic growth and social change in our city, state and region. For more information, visit us at www.kingsleyhouse.org.
About Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
The mission of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) is to advance policies to ensure that Louisiana's young children are ready for success in school and in life. LPIC is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that serves as an independent source of data, research, and pertinent information for policymakers, stakeholders and the public at large around issues related to young children in Louisiana. LPIC develops policy proposals informed by research, best practices and the experiences of other states and conducts educational and outreach activities around these recommended policy solutions.
About Stand for Children Louisiana
Stand for Children’s mission is to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, graduate from high school prepared for, and with access to, a college education. To make that happen, Stand educates and empowers parents, teachers, and community members to demand excellent schools; advocates for effective local, state and national education policies and investments; and elects courageous leaders who will stand up for our priorities. For more information, visit www.stand.org/Louisiana.
About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For more than 90 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.
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