BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Performance scores for the state's public schools remained steady for the third year in a row, state education officials said Tuesday, with 20 percent earning an "A'' in the state grading system.

Twenty-seven percent of schools earned a "B'' and another 27 percent a "C'' in the latest breakdown; 18 percent got a "D'' and 8 percent an "F."

The state released scores and letter grades for individual schools and school districts on Tuesday. It also launched a new online reporting system to help families examine individual schools — the Louisiana School Finder .

Also Tuesday, officials released, for the first time, performance data on all publicly funded early-childhood education programs in the state. Officials said the rating system includes evaluations of teacher-child interactions and instruction; also, measures of which programs used "best practices" including hiring of credentialed teachers and use of high quality curricula.

"It is a great step forward for our state to report on the good work going on in early childhood centers alongside their counterparts in K-12 systems," Education Superintendent John White said in a statement accompanying the release of the latest figures.

As for public schools, while performance scores remained steady overall, there were some changes among individual schools and districts. Some districts improved. Jefferson Davis, Lincoln and Bossier parish systems saw jumps from B to A.

Notable among those that dropped: East Carroll went from B to D. And New Orleans schools, where the state has been able to tout improvement over the years since Hurricane Katrina, dropped from a B (with an overall number score of 85) to a C (with a number score of 70.8).

White noted in a news release and a telephone news conference that the challenges will be greater in coming years as the state adopts higher standards.

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