Overhaul of pre-kindergarten classes expands pilots

The state plans to double the impact of pilot projects testing Louisiana’s overhaul of its pre-kindergarten system, state Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday.

In a prepared statement, White said 16 communities will join the 13 already operating in a bid to revamp pre-K classes, which critics say are fragmented and failing to prepare enough students for kindergarten.

The changes stem from a 2012 state law pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

White said the 16 new pilots will receive more than $2 million to unify enrollment practices, implement new standards and improve professional development.

The aid requires the approval of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The new pilots include the East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Tangipahoa and West Feliciana parishes’ school boards.

The additions means that 33 school districts are represented in the pilot projects.

White said 145,000 at-risk children stand to benefit.