John White

Airs Sunday, August 30, at 6 p.m. What difference has a decade made?
Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina swept through Southeast Louisiana, triggering what would become the nation’s costliest disaster. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita inundated Southwest Louisiana forever altering the landscape. The storms uprooted residents, while the rest of Louisiana and its neighboring states welcomed them with open arms.

Caddo and Rapides parishes are among 15 selected to participate in a pilot program to develop an early childhood network that would provide 3- and 4-year-olds with equal access to high-quality instruction. State Superintendent John White told reporters yesterday that the parishes will share in a $2.6 million grant.

“We need to end the process of hunting around for a pre-K education," White said. "It’s not fair to families. It’s not fair to kids. By establishing one network, we’ll be able to list all of the options with all of the best information for parents.”

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says Louisiana will receive $10.1 million in the latest allocation of the federal School Improvement Grant program. Duncan is encouraging more than 100 failing schools across the state -- including 24 in northwest and central Louisiana -- to dream up bold initiatives to turn around the schools.