BESE to consider Early Learning Development Standards

Child care shortages causing strain on southern Minnesota school districts
Child care shortages causing strain on southern Minnesota school districts(KEYC)
Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 9:02 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The state education board will consider new guidelines for kids from birth to five years old, but not everyone is on board.

The concern is over “Social-Emotional Development.”

Experts say it’s a critical part of a child’s development, but some say it’s part of a political agenda.

“There was no political ideology,” explained Libbie Sonnier, who helped author the guidelines. “The only ideology is how children develop based on science and evidence. This has nothing to do with politics.”

On December 13, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will consider revised Early Learning Development Standards for kids from ages 0-5.

Sonnier is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children.

“So that anybody dealing with a little one, whether a parent or a caregiver and a teacher, that they know what are the guideposts, what are the things we want to make sure that young children are gaining so that they can be ready for kindergarten,” said Sonnier.

She says the policy was initially created in 2013 and is up for review.

“A committee of 25 people with deep expertise related to child development, young children, how they learn, how they move and grow over time, spent a year working on the revised early learning development standards,” Sonnier told KNOE.

BESE green-lighted the guidelines in August, but not without backlash over a policy on social-emotional development. Critics argue it could lead to discussions about race and gender identity. Sonnier says that’s not true.

“What we know about social-emotional development is it is the foundational developmental piece for young children to learn,” Sonnier said. “That is how you get along with friends. How you regulate your behavior. How you be a good citizen. All those types of things.”

State Education Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley has come out against the standards, calling them vague.

Sonnier says they’re based on research and facts.

“If you’re having a hard time regulating your behavior, getting along with your friends, knowing how to share. It makes it harder for you to learn,” she said. “So we know that social-emotional learning is really a cornerstone of our learning standards.”

KNOE reached out to Brumley’s office for an interview, but was told he was unavailable.