Several education bills passed in the session while other measures were cut

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Besides the Gator Scholarship Program, several education bills were passed in the session. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin said interventions to improve literacy in Louisiana have led to improved reading scores and now there will also be a focus on math.

“I think we’ve come to realize if we focus more on kids at the earlier ages that’s where we see the biggest difference. Our kids were struggling in math, they have been, and I think some of these policies can really help those kids and hopefully get our numbers up,” said Erwin.

Higher Education also chalked up a win. More than 70% of state buildings are on college campuses, and they need an estimated $2 billion to fund deferred maintenance. Erwin said lawmakers dedicated $75 million to help with those projects.

“Trying to fix some of these libraries and classrooms and other buildings that are really in deplorable shape. I think these are really positive steps for higher education,” said Erwin.

But Erwin pointed out that lawmakers sent a mixed message on education this session with another round of teacher pay stipends instead of raises and a $9 million cut to early childhood education.

“Not really a good message there, because we know if we really can focus on those kids at those really early ages, that’s where we can make a difference,” said Erwin.

Erwin said while lawmakers did address policy changes to improve education they failed to dedicate enough monies towards early childhood education.

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