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Sen. Cleo Fields joined Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools, as well as members of the Caddo Parish School Board and the local delegation of legislators in celebrating the signing of mandatory kindergarten into law.

Louisiana joins 19 other states making kindergarten mandatory. The law, which doesn’t go into effect until 2022, also brings the required age for a child to be in school from seven down to age five.

To showcase the law, Sen. Fields visited Shreve Island Elementary to tour classrooms and to discuss the high-quality teaching taking place at the school.

“This bill was so important because early childhood education matters, and it is so important that parents put their kids in school early, and that is why we passed this bill,” Fields said.

Beginning in 2022, families will be required to enroll their children in kindergarten either through a public or private school or through homeschooling. It’s estimated about 3,000 eligible children do not attend kindergarten each year in Louisiana.

“We are always advocating for our students to get an education as early as possible, and the research shows that the sooner they get in school the more prepared they will be,” said Louisiana School Boards Association Executive Director Dr. Janet Pope.