*Originally Posted 03/02/2016
From February 16-24, CHILDREN AT RISK visited seven cities to engage local officials and organizations; met with parents to discuss perception of quality child care; and urged local school districts to apply for Pre-k quality funds. We received coverage from 20 separate outlets across the state, and we’ve included selected excerpts below. You can read more about the Texas Tour in our original blog post, and stay tuned for the full early education report including policy recommendations in September 2016.
Time Warner Cable 24 Hour News (Austin)
CHILDREN AT RISK… believes it is important children receive quality education in the early years, which are most crucial to development, and leaders want every child living below the poverty line to have access to Pre-K.
“When those children are educated well, when those children have a broader vocabulary, when those children enter Kindergarten ready to learn, they’re going to be successful, but if those things aren’t happening then what we’re doing is contributing to this vicious cycle of poverty in our state,” said Dr. Bob Sanborn, with Children at Risk.
Brownsville Herald (Brownsville)
According to Bob Sanborn, CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK, the statewide organization works by collecting data, conducting research and pushing legislation. “We focus on how to bring everybody together, to make sure that children are successful in our state,” Sanborn said. “Our hope is that the state as a whole, commits to early education.”
Sanborn said his organization was in the middle of a large piece of research in Texas.
In working with the Kellogg Foundation, CHILDREN AT RISK is looking at how to create a better early-education roadmap for children 0 to 8 years old. According to officials, “during the 84th Texas Legislative Session, the Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott restored funding to improve the quality of Pre-K.” In order to continue moving forward in that investment, a “quality early education before and after Pre-K” must be sought or all “gains made in Pre-K will be lost.”
“We need to say as a state, listen, we have this very big part of our population that is keyed up for not being successful,” Sanborn says. “How are we going to turn this around? And the best bang for our buck is high quality early education.”
… Statistics back that up, says Regen Fearon, with Early Matters Dallas, a coalition of private and public groups. “The investment in quality early childhood education is the most cost effective and efficient means to improving education outcomes and therefore our workforce,” Fearon says.
… Laurie Larrea, with Workforce Solutions Dallas says that means childcare assistance for many working mothers and fathers. Otherwise, she says today’s 3 year-olds won’t be ready for work when they’re grown.
KTSA (San Antonio)
“We’re starting to do a good job in Pre-K–but it’s parenting, it’s childcare, it’s Pre-K–and then it’s a continuation… making sure we have quality K through 12” said Dr. Bob Sanborn with CHILDREN AT RISK.
He also told KTSA News more money would help–but too many people in the State are also dropping the ball.
“State agencies in the area of early education are not working together–whether it’s the Texas Education Agency, Texas Workforce–which funds childcare… a lot of these state agencies just are not working together” Sanborn said, adding “The State just needs to understand the importance of early education. 70% of our kids in the State of Texas are raised in households where both parents are working.”