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EARLY EDUCATION 83 rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS.

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Presentation on theme: "EARLY EDUCATION 83 rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS."— Presentation transcript:

1 EARLY EDUCATION 83 rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS

2 Early Childhood Movement: Ten Years of Budget Success $10 M $15 M $35 M $69.9 M 82 nd Legislative Session (2011) PROTECTION of $32.4 million in early education and $17.7 million in home visitation funding

3 Early Childhood Movement: 10 Years of Policy Success YEARLEGISLATIVE SUCCESS 2003 Coordinated and streamlined eligibility and registration for child care programs 2005 Financial incentives for early childhood providers that engage in coordinated services 2006 (S) Public school pre-k expanded to military children 2007 Improved data collection and analysis of bilingual and ESL students Nurse-family partnership created for home-visitation of first-time, low- income mothers Established regulation of employer-based child care centers 2009 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

4 Early Childhood Movement: 10 Years of Policy Success LEGISLATIVE SUCCESS 2011 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 program 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 class Membership of Child Care Advisory Committee revised to remove the representative of the corporate child development fund

5 Hot Topics In the 83 rd Legislative Session Restoration of the $5.4 billion cut from public education in the 82 nd 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

6 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

7 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

8 Child Care Regulation SB 427 (Nelson) – Passed o 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 SB 64 (Nelson) – Passed o 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 o Requires licensed day-care centers to equip certain vehicles with child safety alarms

9 Pre-K HB 742 (Strama)– Passed o Creates a grant program that allows for additional summer educational opportunities for educationally disadvantaged students HB 1122 (Johnson) – Passed o 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, o $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.

10 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

11 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 development 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

12 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

13 EARLY EDUCATION: NEXT STEPS

14 The Early Education Alliance Mission: o 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 o Forum on early opportunities strengthened in the 83 rd session and a discussion of next steps o 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 o Next meeting February 27 th in Austin

15 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

16 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 groups 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 competencies

17 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 Assessment Children at Risk – Undertaking a pre-K data collection project with certain districts

18 Continuing Issues in Pre-K Annie E. Casey report stated that 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: o Currently, TEA does not collect data from the districts on full/half day, class size, outreach efforts, pre-K assessments o Lack of oversight or accountability of pre-K programs; TEA lacks the capacity to monitor

19 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

20 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 programs E3 Alliance conducted research on enrollment rates for districts with full day programs vs. half day programs o 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%) o 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

21 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 In 2011, the agency was reduced by about a third. o Currently there is only one staff member dedicated to early learning at TEA o TEA does not have the capacity to coordinate adequately with the federal Education Service Centers o TEA lacks the staffing to oversee pre-K standards, or provide adequate assistance to districts on best practices

22 Advocacy Through Elected Officials Find Out Who Represents You – If you do not already know who represents you, visit 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"

23 Media 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 –


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