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Preschoolers move colored sticks to musice during the Do-Re-ME! Winter Program Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at Truman Early Childhood Education Center in Lafayette, La. The winter performance is a culmination of musical education offered to Truman's preschool students as part of the Do-Re-ME! program, an Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music "arts-integrated curriculum that uses music to reinforce comprehension in Literacy, Math, Science, and Social Studies."

Legislation aimed at improving affordable early childhood education breezed through the Louisiana House on Monday.

The measure passed 89-1 and next faces action in the Senate.

The proposal, House Bill 676, would allow the state's top school board to set up pilot centers designed to assist children from birth to age 4.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would also be authorized to use public and private funds to implement the new strategies.

Successful pilots could then be used as models to improve services statewide.

The measure would also establish a 38-member panel to gather and analyze data on the quality of existing programs, and spell out a plan on how to improve them.

The panel would determine how much it would cost for the state to offer affordable care to children from birth to age 4 statewide.

Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, R-Metairie, sponsor of the bill, said her proposal would also address concerns about families balancing work and child care.

"This is not just a workforce issue of tomorrow," Hilferty said. "It is a workforce issue today."

She said the U. S. Chamber of Commerce has said the issue needs attention.

The legislation would also require the commission to submit a report to the Legislature for the 2020 session.


Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.