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EARLY EDUCATION 83 rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS PowerPoint Presentation
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EARLY EDUCATION 83 rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS

EARLY EDUCATION 83 rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS

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EARLY EDUCATION 83 rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS

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  1. EARLY EDUCATION 83rd LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP AND NEXT STEPS

  2. Early Childhood Movement:Ten Years of Budget Success $69.9 M $35 M 82nd Legislative Session (2011) PROTECTION of $32.4 million in early education and $17.7 million in home visitation funding $15 M $10 M 2003 2005 2007 2009

  3. Early Childhood Movement: 10 Years of Policy Success

  4. Early Childhood Movement: 10 Years of Policy Success

  5. Hot Topics In the 83rd Legislative Session • 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

  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 • Establishes graduated reimbursement rates for subsidized child care providers based on the Texas Rising Star Program at TWC • Creates a work group charged with producing a plan to measure quality among providers • Provides for technical assistance, quality initiatives, and information for parents about quality of local providers

  8. SB 427 (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 • SB 64 (Nelson) – Passed • 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 Child Care Regulation

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

  10. Measuring School Readiness • SB 172 (Carona) – Passed • 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 • 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 • 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: • 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

  15. Priority Issues Identified in Survey • Top priority issues for child care: • Reduce child care ratios to better align with national standards and to increase safety • Measures that would prevent child care subsidies from going to unsafe child care facilities • Improve quality of training for child care workers • Top priority issues for pre-K: • Reduction of pre-K class size • 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 • Currently, staff/child ratios do not align with nationally recommended standards in six age groups • Training of child care workers • 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 • 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 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 assessments • 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) • State spending per pre-K student dropped in 2012 • Texas only meets 2 of 10 quality benchmarks • Reduction of pre-K class size and pre-K ratios • 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 • 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 • 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

  21. 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 • 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 Need for Additional Resources

  22. AdvocacyThrough 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"

  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 http://txchildren.org/Early-Education • Contact Information: Andrea Brauer, Early Education Policy Associate • abrauer@txchildren.org 512.473.2274