Pay For It Now or Pay More For It Later: Important Issues for Louisiana’s Future


Focus on Solving Problems
Louisiana Progress advocates for effective solutions to the policy challenges that continue to shackle Louisiana to the past.  We must work together to overcome the legacy of poverty, ignorance, bigotry and injustice.  To move Louisiana forward, policymakers must focus on solving the real problems.

Smart, Serious, Savvy Leaders

Serious problems require savvy, committed people working to not just meet the needs of the past, but to create a vibrant future.  We need policymakers committed to solving problems.

The priorities of Louisiana Progress

1.      Reduce intergenerational poverty
2.       Invest in Early Childhood Education
3.       Improve Public Education
4.       Reform Juvenile Justice
5.       Strengthen Louisiana’s Higher Education

The Urgency of Now

We Need Louisiana Progress now —

  • We cannot be satisfied with being last in every indicator for health, education, poverty.
  • Future generations deserve an effective government working to solve problems.
  • Our public education system is failing many of our young people.
  • We can invest in early interventions or pay more for prisons.

Louisiana Progress will:

  1. State the problems and issues clearly so policy makers understand the implications.
  2. Frame solutions based on data to clarify the scope of problems.
  3. Be innovative and responsive to important challenges facing Louisiana families.
  4. Drive investment, action and implementation to solve problems.
  5. Hold government accountable to move Louisiana forward by solving systemic problems.

More than just talk, we need leadership and action…

Louisiana Progress is building a formidable network of community leaders, advocates, and policymakers working together to solve the state’s most difficult problems and improve the quality of life for all Louisiana families.

We Can Pay For It Now or Pay More For It Later:

Louisiana Progress Agenda: Focus on Solving Problems

The Coalition for Louisiana Progress (Louisiana Progress) was incorporated in 2005 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  Louisiana Progress is based on a commitment to practical, pragmatic, common sense solutions to move Louisiana forward.   Louisiana Progress is based on optimism about the future for Louisiana.  We want to make Louisiana a place that young people want to live, work and raise a family.

Unfortunately, our public education system is failing many of our young people, dooming many to lives of poverty and desperation.   Too many of our most talented young people are leaving the state with their college degrees or going to college in other states and not returning to Louisiana.  We are not investing strategically for the future in community colleges and higher education institutions.   The “brain drain” is limiting Louisiana’s economic long term success.  We need to create opportunities for our talented young people to build Louisiana.  Louisiana needs to be more than a great place to “be from”.

For those left behind in Louisiana, we are not growing our economy, our population is not increasing and the long term economic vitality of Louisiana is at stake. We must engage the people of Louisiana in building our future and advocating for changes to make Louisiana more equitable and inclusive. We want to improve the quality of life and opportunity for success for all our citizens.   Louisiana has to face the fact that we have too many poor people and we must promote pathways to prosperity to support family self-sufficiency.

The Louisiana Progress Issues Briefs clarify the interrelated social and economic issues which contribute to poverty, low educational attainment, and juvenile crime.  We need to address the needs of Louisiana’s young people to prepare them for higher education and the world of work.   The programs demonstrated to work should be supported for more accountable and responsible policymaking.  We can “pay for it now or pay more for it later”.  We know what the problems are and we know how to solve them- but we choose not to solve problems and continue to “put band-aids on bullet wounds.”

We need Louisiana to move up in the rankings and improve the quality of life.  Louisiana remains 49th among the states in life expectancy, the second-highest in infant mortality and fourth in violent crime. The state is 46th in percentage of people older than 25 with college degrees and ties for second in percentage of people living below the poverty line.  Leaders in Louisiana cannot be satisfied with being nearly last in every national indicator that measures poverty, illiteracy, education, high-school drop outs and teen pregnancies, health outcomes, and obesity.

We need to foster policies that will promote education, self-sufficiency and economic growth.  Louisiana can have economic opportunities, where people can better themselves, their children, their families, and their communities through education, hard work, and the freedom to climb the ladder of success.  The development of self-sufficient families requires public investments that support improved early childhood outcomes, better schools and communities that will improve public safety; decrease corrections and criminal justice expenditures; decrease poverty; expand the workforce; and ultimately help Louisiana move forward.

Information for Policymakers

Policymakers at all levels of government have given increasing attention to the concepts of “evidence-based programs” and “promising innovations” over the past several years, yet we continue to fail to invest in these solutions.  Louisiana needs to move toward more accountability, responsibility, and effectiveness in policymaking and the administration of public funds targeted at solving problems and measuring results.

5 Reasons to Invest in Early Childhood Education

Every child deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Research has shown that investing in high-quality early childhood education is one of the best ways to ensure that children are able to achieve better outcomes later in life.

  1. The first five years are the most critical in the development of a child’s brain.
  2. Achievement gaps develop well before children begin kindergarten.
  3. High-quality pre–K programs for three- and four-year-olds can have a significant impact on all children, but     especially those from low-income families.
  4. Meaningful investments in quality early learning programs for younger children have lasting effects that can reduce costs later in life while enhancing economic growth.
  5. A high-quality early childhood education can help break the cycle of poverty.

5 Ways to Improve Public Education

The current public discourse for Louisiana’s public education system is focused on a system of failure. As citizens, our job is to raise the expectations of our children, and those of society, about what they can achieve, not when they will fail. In order to move Louisiana’s educational system forward we must focus our collective energies on proven solutions, not just a heavy reliance on charter schools, testing, and performance based pay.

  1. Establish a Culture of Excellence Through     School Leadership and Collaboration
  2. Support Quality Teachers—Well Educated, Well     Trained, and Well Resourced
  3. Foster Innovation—Flexible Responsibilities to Meet Changing Student Needs
  4. Create Schools as Community Resources—Community    Schools
  5. Insure Quality     Facilities—Improved Infrastructure, Technology, and Safety

5 Ways to Improve Higher Education

For Louisiana to become competitive in the global market, then we must increase college and credential completion. Between direct financial support to schools and financial aid to students, state tax payers are the majority investors in public education and deserve more college graduates. In order to increase the level of educational attainment, it is important to consider two parallel educational pipelines: one for students of traditional college age (ages 18-24) and one for reentry adults who are returning to postsecondary education or training.

  1. Transform Remediation to focus on skill development and course content
  2. Improve Financial Aid for merit and need
  3. Connect Education with Workforce Skills and Job Demand
  4. Encourage Articulation and Transfer of Students across systems
  5. Restructure Course Delivery to focus on timely graduation

5 Ways to Improve Juvenile Justice  

Louisiana’s juvenile justice system has made significant progress in the last twenty years. However, there is still much more to be done to improve services for children and families to continue to prevent incarceration and continue to decrease the number of juveniles in secure facilities.  More focus on prevention and early intervention models, school retention programs and truancy centers as well as community based services are needed to divert juveniles from the criminal justice system.

  1. Focus resources on early Identification and Intervention in schools and communities
  2. Support Community-Based Services and Support over detention and incarceration
  3. Reduce Detention of Youth Awaiting Placement and place youth appropriately
  4. Hire, Train and Compensate Quality Staff in Treatment and Youth Development Services
  5. Implement Quality Education and Career Development programs

Louisiana Progress Policy Briefs

 Reduce intergenerational poverty
 Invest in Early Childhood Education
 Improve Public Education
Reform Juvenile Justice
 Strengthen Louisiana’s Higher Education

Remember, We Can Pay For It Now or Pay More For It Later

Please Learn More About Important Issues for Louisiana’s Future

You Can Focus on Solving Problems!