Tx Earl Ed Alliance PP TAASPYC 2014

Early Childhood Movement:
Ten Years of Budget Success
$69.9 M
$35 M
82nd Legislative Session
$15 M
$10 M
million in early
education and $17.7
million in home
visitation funding
Early Childhood Movement:
10 Years of Policy Success
•Coordinated and streamlined eligibility and registration for child care
•Financial incentives for early childhood providers that engage in
coordinated services
2006 (S)
•Public school pre-k expanded to military children
•Improved data collection and analysis of bilingual and ESL students
•Nurse-family partnership created for home-visitation of first-time, lowincome mothers
•Established regulation of employer-based child care centers
•Better coordination of Head Start, TEA, and streamlined grant process
•Council on Children and Families established
•Required resource guides to be given to certain new mothers
Early Childhood Movement:
10 Years of Policy Success
•Relative child care providers required to be listed with DFPS and to have
background checks
•Increased training requirements for child care workers
•Required local workforce development boards to provide info on quality child care
•Specified who may provide training for child care providers
•Authorized Texas Rising Star providers to access the cooperative purchasing
•Required child care providers to be trained on recognition and reporting of abuse
•Established minimum standards for child care centers to follow physicians’
directives on medical care
•Established child care at certain facilities, so a parent can attend an educational
•Membership of Child Care Advisory Committee revised to remove the
representative of the corporate child development fund
Hot Topics In the 83rd Legislative
• Restoration of the $5.4 billion cut from public
education in the 82nd Legislative Session
• School Finance
• Testing and Assessments
• Push for all education funding in the
formulas, and giving districts autonomy
• Half-Day vs. Full-Day Pre-K
Our Work Last Session
• Texans Care for Children advocated for
improvements in early care and education
that would help with educational
achievement. We called for:
 Improvements in child care quality
 The restoration of pre-K funding
 Improvements in how Texas measures children’s
school readiness
Raising the Quality of Childcare
• HB 376 (Strama) – Passed
o Establishes graduated reimbursement rates for
subsidized child care providers based on the
Texas Rising Star Program at TWC
o Creates a work group charged with producing a
plan to measure quality among providers
o Provides for technical assistance, quality
initiatives, and information for parents about
quality of local providers
Child Care Regulation
SB 427 (Nelson) – Passed
SB 64 (Nelson) – Passed
Strengthens regulation of residential child care facilities by
requiring providers to undergo fingerprint background checks.
Allows for biennial inspections of child care facilities that have a
history of compliance with minimum licensing standards
Protects children by requiring child care facilities to put policies in
place that require child care workers to receive vaccines based on
how much exposure they have to children
HB 1741 (Naishtat) – Passed
Requires licensed day-care centers to equip certain vehicles with
child safety alarms
HB 742 (Strama)– Passed
HB 1122 (Johnson) – Passed
Establishes a pilot program for a three year high school diploma
plan and uses savings to expand pre-K
The Pre-Kindergarten Early Start Grant Program (PKES) – did
not get restored,
Creates a grant program that allows for additional summer
educational opportunities for educationally disadvantaged students
$3.9 billion was restored to public education overall. Some of this
will benefit pre-K.
$30 million was set aside via rider as supplemental pre-K
funding. This will be distributed per ADA.
Measuring School Readiness
• SB 172 (Carona) – Passed
o Requires Commissioner of Education to include a
multi-dimensional assessment tool, which would
assess domains beyond pre-literacy, on the approved
list of tools for kindergarten
• Kindergarten Readiness System (KRS) – Did not
receive funding, but TEA and the Children’s Learning
Institute have received a federal grant to develop a new
Kindergarten Entry Assessment System
What Did Not Pass But Should Have
• HB 660 (Strama) – Did not pass
o Would have required the Texas Workforce
Commission (TWC) to fund a scholarship program
(known as TEACH) for child care workers to pursue
an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in child
• SB 1119 (West) – Did not receive a hearing
o Would have lowered staff-to-child ratios for 2 and 3
year olds in child care to ensure a safer environment
Budget Bright Spots
• $3.9 Billion restored to public education
• Maintenance of $30.4 million in funding for the
Texas School Ready! Project
• A rider in the budget calls for TWC to allocate
$500,000 each year to improve the professional
development of early education workers
The Early Education Alliance
Shares information and coordinates advocacy efforts that enhance
safety and early learning opportunities in child care, and improve
the quality of and access to pre-K in Texas to help ensure that all
students enter school ready for success
First meeting held on Oct. 10, 2013
Forum on early opportunities strengthened in the 83rd session and
a discussion of next steps
Prior to the meeting, Texans Care for Children conducted an early
education priorities survey and asked the early education field to
identify priority issues for the next legislative session
Next meeting February 27th in Austin
Priority Issues Identified in Survey
• Top priority issues for child care:
1. Reduce child care ratios to better align with national
standards and to increase safety
2. Measures that would prevent child care subsidies from
going to unsafe child care facilities
3. Improve quality of training for child care workers
• Top priority issues for pre-K:
1. Reduction of pre-K class size
2. Reducing pre-K ratios
• Other issues identified by respondents included
the need for full-day pre-K
The Youngest Learners:
Need for Better Quality in Child Care
• Reduction of child care ratios
o Currently, staff/child ratios do not align with
nationally recommended standards in six age
• Training of child care workers
o National recommendations (NACCRA) suggest that
lead teachers should have a Child Development
Associate (CDA) credential, college courses or an
associate’s degree in early childhood education
o Need to improve training that addresses core
Current pre-K Initiatives
• TEA - Creating a pre-K module in the Texas State
Data System
• Children’s Learning Institute – Awarded $3.9
million to establish a Kindergarten Entry
• Children at Risk – Undertaking a pre-K data
collection project with certain districts
Continuing Issues in Pre-K
Annie E. Casey report stated that 64-68 percent of at-risk three
and four year olds lacked access to preschool. Implies
state/districts need better outreach
Many areas in Texas, particularly rural areas, lack funding,
facilities, capacity, and teaching staff for pre-K; Wait lists exist
in some areas
Data collection needs:
Currently, TEA does not collect data from the districts on
full/half day, class size, outreach efforts, pre-K
Lack of oversight or accountability of pre-K programs; TEA
lacks the capacity to monitor
Improve Quality of Pre-K
Deficiencies identified by The National Institute of Early Education
Research (NIEER)
o State spending per pre-K student dropped in 2012
o Texas only meets 2 of 10 quality benchmarks
Reduction of pre-K class size and pre-K ratios
o Texas does not currently have a mandated student/teacher ratio
or maximum class size for pre-K classrooms; Some classes as
high as 28 students
Teacher Qualifications
o NIEER recommends that pre-K teachers, in addition to a bachelor
degree, have specialized training in early childhood or pre-K;
Texas does not require this
Need For Full Day Pre-K
With the loss of PKES grant, some districts had to
eliminate their full day programs
TEA estimates it would cost $1.5 billion to fund full day
E3 Alliance conducted research on enrollment rates for
districts with full day programs vs. half day programs
Districts with full day pre-K programs had significantly higher rates of
enrollment for eligible children (81%) as compared to districts with half
day pre-K programs (69%)
Additionally, students who attended full day pre-K were better
prepared for school in the language and communication domain
compared to students who attended half day pre-K
Need for Additional Resources
Texas is the only one of the 10 most populous states that
does not have a dedicated office or division for early
learning within state government
o TEA had four Pre-K staff members prior to 2011. In 2011,
the agency was reduced by about a third.
Currently there is only one staff member dedicated to early
learning at TEA
TEA does not have the capacity to coordinate adequately with
the federal Education Service Centers
TEA lacks the staffing to oversee pre-K standards, or provide
adequate assistance to districts on best practices
Through Elected Officials
• Find Out Who Represents You
– If you do not already know who represents you, visit
http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ to enter your address and
find out. Let your elected officials know, not just during
the legislative session, but during the interim, that early
childhood education is a priority to you. Invite them to
visit your program so they can see first hand.
• Be Clear and Make Your Case
– Legislators want to know the basics of the issue and what
they can do to help. Many advocates make the mistake of
providing a lot of information but no action for the
legislator to take. For example, you can say "Please
designate more funding for pre-K programs in Texas"
• Invite the media to local events you are hosting. This
will provide a great opportunity to bring attention to
your work and inform the media about how the
decision-making in Austin will impact your program.
• Finally, get involved with other early childhood
advocacy organizations and make your voice heard!
• Sign up for our Early Education Alliance Newsletter at
– Contact Information: Andrea Brauer, Early Education
Policy Associate
– [email protected] 512.473.2274

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