Education | United Way of Southeast Louisiana

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Education Benefits Kids and Communities

Education is a cornerstone for success in school, work and life. It also benefits the whole community: High school graduates have higher earning potential, contribute more to their local economies, are more engaged in their communities, and are more likely to raise kids who also graduate, and go on to higher education or work.

We look at the big picture to assess which resources are lacking or need strengthening, then we address those gaps to keep kids on track to graduation and beyond.


EDUCATION is the cornerstone of individual and community success. The ability of students to think, learn and communicate affects their likelihood of becoming productive adults and active citizens. Because of this, education is essential to getting and keeping a job with a livable wage and health benefits. High quality early education leads to stronger 3rd grade reading scores (74% of children who perform poorly in reading in third grade continue to do so into high school).which in turn is a strong predictor of success in high school. Success in high school, including on-time graduation, is the single most powerful predictor of whether a young person coming from generations of poverty will break the cycle.

A well-educated workforce attracts world-class jobs. Strengthening the school to career cycle of education is fundamental to our community’s economic prosperity.




Louisiana Quality Start Child Care Rating System is a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for all licensed child care in Louisiana, which includes child care centers, Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Family child care, which is not licensed in the state, is not included in the QRIS.

Quality Start participants are rated from 1 to 5 stars by earning points in four areas: program, staff qualifications, administration practices, and family and community involvement. Depending on the number of points earned and in which areas, the following ratings are awarded:

1 star - A one-star rating indicates that the center has a license in good standing and no outstanding deficiencies.

2 stars - A two-star rating indicates that the center staff has received more specialized training, and the center has completed a self-assessment plan.

3-5 stars - A three- to five-star rating indicates the center provides quality child care based on staff qualifications and the Environment Rating Scales (ERS).

School Readiness Tax Credit (SRTC) Beginning in 2008, Louisiana started offering a refundable tax credit to child care centers participating in Quality Start. The size of the credit is based on the center's star level and the number of children being served receiving child care assistance or are foster children in states custody. The tax credit per eligible child starts at $750 for a two-star program and goes up to $1,500 for a five-star program.

The 2013 Legislative Session creates three levels of licensure:

Level 1 equals Class B licensure: Usually church/faith based child care

Level 2 is a subset of Class A licensure: These providers do not receive public funding. (The concern is how many centers will fall in this category over time and if there will be enough spots in high quality centers for economically disadvantaged kids.)

Level 3 is a newly created subset of Class A licensure: These child care providers are mandated to participate in Louisiana’s Quality Rating system if they accept public funding.

Currently United Way is funding 17 Level 3 Class A child care centers. Of the 17 funded child care center 15 have achieved three stars or better.


Louisiana is one of only three states that do not require licensure of paid child care arrangements that are provided in private homes. Read the Roadmap to Success report on how we are working to address the issue. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Success By 6 Collaborative is laying the groundwork to create a license class for Family Child Care providers. The goal of this legislative reform is to ensure the state provides needed oversight in health and safety to these child care settings and simultaneously pave the road to improved kindergarten readiness. Licensure will also benefit FCC parents and providers as it will allow them to participate in available state financial incentives such as the school readiness tax credits under the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.

The four year cohort graduation rate in Louisiana hovers about 67% with one third of students not graduating with their class.

Of the 67% of students who graduate on time, approximately half of these students enter post secondary education

Of those that enter college, about one in three finish post secondary education with a degree.

In a 2011-2012 school survey of 10th grade students, student leadership, career coaching, and tutoring were identified most positively as support actives that contributed to a better school experience

United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s School to Career Initiative in partnership with NOLA Youth Works/Job 1 are working to create a local career development model that incorporates the best practices of youth development while simultaneously being informed by the needs of local business.

In 2012 launched a three year pilot program to measure the impact of developmentally appropriate youth employment/internship opportunities on soft skills, employability and school outcomes for pilot participants as compared to a cohort of other NOLA Youth Works participants.



Provide Quality Developmental & Learning Experiences: Quality Child Care, Academic Support and Enrichment and Transition to Work

Support Families: Parents and Children Together




One example is that we know that kids need be ready to learn and high quality early education leads to stronger 3rd grade reading scores which in turn is a strong predictor of success in high school.

Our Strategy was to teach children at center based quality child care gross and fine motor skills, as well as cognitive, language, self-help, and social/emotional skills.

Our result was 95% of the pre-school age children participating in a United Way High Quality Child Care Center had the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in kindergarten.

Another example is that we believe in strengthening the school to career cycle of education is fundamental to our community's economic prosperity so youth have robust acdemic supports. 

Our Strategy was to develop opportunities for at-risk youth in tutoring, creative activities, physical activities, support and intervention activities, life skills and character education, leadership development and more, to improve academic success.

Our result was 90% of participants advanced to the next grade and 81% of participants achieved basic level or better on standardized tests.



Our area ranks among the highest in violent crime. Worse yet, 1 in 5 offenses are committed by minors.

It's time to start fixing the problem. United Way of Southeast Louisiana is investing in youth and families so that hope may overrule hate. When you invest in United Way, you help fund one of the largest crime prevention systems in the region. United Way prepares children to be successful in school through early childhood development programs. Mentoring and character building programs keep kids in class and off the streets, after-school programs provide youth development and the tools necessary for kids to graduate, to get and keep jobs, and have future careers. United Way works to build a better New Orleans and make this a safer place to live, work and raise our children.



For more information about how we make an impact in Education, contact