At Texas Aspires, we believe high-quality early learning for at-risk students should be a state priority. Closing learning gaps early provides substantial opportunities for young learners by setting them on a path to rich academic experiences.
The case for pre-kindergarten
Making the case for high-quality pre-kindergarten programs isn’t difficult. For eligible students who attend free public pre-k, kindergarten readiness increases by 18 percentage points. Kindergarten readiness sets the foundation for a student’s future, increases literacy by third grade, and gives students a strong foundation to learn throughout the rest of public education.
In addition, pre-k provides important long-term outcomes for Texas students, such as a two-percent decrease in the likelihood of dropping out, a six-percent increase in on-time graduation, and a seven-percent increase in the likelihood of enrolling in college. High-quality pre-k also significantly reduces remediation in later grades.
Barriers to participation
Unfortunately, only two-thirds of eligible four-year-olds currently attend a free public pre-k program. Access and length of school days are substantial barriers to full participation. Approximately 150 school districts offer no pre-kindergarten opportunities. Of those that do, only about two-thirds offer a full-day option to families. Expanding access to full-day pre-k would likely dramatically increase pre-k attendance and student outcomes.
Making quality a priority
Experts at the National Institute for Early Education Research say
In Texas’ search for quality in early childhood education, policymakers should keep
Pre-k in the 86th
In the 86th legislative session, Texas Aspires will advocate for high-quality, full-day, formula-funded pre-k for students who need it most.
- High-quality: As a state investment, quality should be a priority. Offering high-quality pre-k provides the maximum benefits to students.
- Full-day: Full-day pre-k offers more learning experiences to children and makes pre-
k amore viable option for working parents.
- Formula-funded: To ensure continuity in pre-k programs, Texas should make funds available to districts in a consistent and predictable manner.
- Available to students who need it most: Eligible students across the state should have access to a free, public pre-k option.
Making strategic investments in our youngest at-risk learners is a no-brainer for Texas. That’s why nearly 80 percent of Texans believe at-risk students should have access to a full-day of high-quality pre-K. While we’ve got the books open on school finance in 2019, let’s write in more opportunities for Texas students.Print