Fully funded all-day pre-kindergarten is now a reality in Texas.
Two-years after Governor Greg Abbott called for a high-quality pre-K program in Texas, state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together to find a way to fund pre-k programs for the state’s economically disadvantaged children, ensuring they will enter kindergarten ready to learn.
During the 86th legislative session, business leaders urged state leaders to invest in early childhood education.
In a letter to Governor Abbott and state legislators, 56 business leaders discussed the potential benefits of such funding.
“Studies show that in Texas, children who attend effective pre-k programs have already lowered rates of grade repetition and special education, saving the state an estimated $142 million each year in these two areas alone,” the leaders said.
Legislators noted how lack of investment in pre-K education was affected the state’s competitiveness with other states and countries, by pointing out that fewer than half of Texas’ students could read at a third-grade level by the end of third grade, leading to a negative impact in high school graduation rates.
According to Forbes, “One of the only things holding Texas back is the education
rate among its labor supply,” the letter said. “Only 84% of adults have a high school degree, which is second lowest among the states.”
Schools leaders across the state said the passage of legislation funding all-day pre-K in the state would be transformative.
In early May, Community Impact News reported that Fort Bend Independent School District
Chief Financial Officer told the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce that legislation funding all-day pre-K could bring $5.3 million in new funding to the community for early childhood literacy.
“This is a game-changer,” Bassett said.