Published 7:39 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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I don’t know Steven Procopio, the president of the Public Research Council of Louisiana (a.k.a. PAR) but I do know Melinda Deslatte, the LaPlace native and former Associated Press correspondent in Baton Rouge who is now PAR’s research director. I once had an office down the hall from her on Press Row.

Together he and she have warned that Louisiana will soon lose federal funds supporting early childhood education and must find ways to replace that money.

I wasn’t a big fan of early childhood education; I had the 20th Century notion that parents should do that at home before kids start going to school. But over the past few decades I’ve realized the world’s not the same. Too many kids are in families where both parents must work. Too many kids have just one parent.

The loss of federal help will hit 16,000 kids. That, as Procopio and Deslatte point out, is more than the entire population of college-town Thibodeaux, Louisiana. Some live right here in St. John.

And preparing kids for school is essential to being successful in school, which is essential to being successful in life. Louisiana’s legislators must find ways to make up that money.


Russ Wise