LAUSD's plan stresses the importance of starting learning process shortly after birth

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District on Wednesday unveiled its latest plan to get students into early education programs. It's called the Birth to Eight Roadmap, a program that's been in development since the school board approved it back in February.

The goal is to start the learning process as early as possible.

"Having them ready to read by third grade is really critical," said Dr. Dean Tagawa, executive director of LAUSD's Early Childhood Education program.

That third grade benchmark is key to the Birth to Eight Roadmap program, which aims to get kids into early education programs right after they are born.

"Early care and education starts from birth," said Bill Sperling, the CEO of Child360, a non-profit group that assists early educators.

"Research shows 85% of an individual's brain is developed by age 4, so that is critical to get early learning accomplished," he said.

Sperling says many young students fall behind in their reading skills. Experts say if kids are still learning how to read, they won't be able to read to learn.

"When kids aren't ready to learn by kindergarten, that impacts their ability to read by third grade," he said. "And statistics show if kids aren't reading by third grade, very bad things happen."

The new Birth to Eight Roadmap spells out ways for the district to reach children from the time they're born, all the way through second grade. The goal is to eliminate learning gaps among students before they hit that all-important third grade threshold.

"It's all about making sure each of our students have that opportunity at the earliest age to become a learner," said LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner. "So we can reach our goal which is to make sure that every child ... is prepared to succeed, not just in college but in life."
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