Louisiana education department pushes census participation

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The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to hire 500,000 people for 2020. (NEXSTAR)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s education department has posted online information aimed at promoting participation in this year’s U.S. Census in classrooms and at home.

The 2020 Census Toolbox site includes general information about the counting process, flyers, statistics, videos — and learning activities by grade level that teachers can use to talk about the importance of the census.

“We are proud to partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure every child counts in Louisiana,” Superintendent of Education John White said in a statement.

Census data determines how many members of Congress a state has and is used to divvy up significant sums of federal dollars that flow to states, among other things. The numbers could be critical to Louisiana’s continued receipt of billions of dollars in federal money spent on health care, education, social services and other programs.

“The results affect various aspects of education, from offering affordable, healthy school lunch options to providing high-quality early care and education to supporting historically disadvantaged students and their families,” White said.

The once-a-decade count of the U.S. population started in January in Alaska. The rest of the nation will take part starting in the spring.

The education department said 68% of Louisiana households returned their census questionnaires in 2000. The state’s rate fell to 65% in 2010.

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