All Eligible Students Should Benefit From Full-Day Pre-K

/, Economic Opportunity, Education/All Eligible Students Should Benefit From Full-Day Pre-K
Chandra Villanueva

Pre-Kindergarten has already proven to be a hot issue this legislative session, and this week Representatives Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) and Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown) released a noteworthy Pre-K reform proposal. The plan acknowledges the importance of Pre-K for economically disadvantaged students but fails to offer a solution for all eligible students in all districts.

Pre-K is the smartest and most cost-effective place to invest in education, and research shows that economically disadvantaged students who attend high-quality Pre-K programs make the greatest educational gains. The incentive program proposed by Johnson and Farney requires school districts to provide results before they can receive funding, creating a system in which only students in those districts benefit from expanded Pre-K.

Implementing a full-day program of the type proposed requires investments, and without funding it’s not clear how districts can prove compliance before becoming eligible for the incentive payments. If a district is able to implement some, but not all, of the quality requirements could they stand to lose all of their incentive funding?

Texas’ goal should be to provide a high-quality early education to all eligible students, not just a select few. Preparing our youngest now is proven to help them compete and succeed down the road. There’s nothing to prevent the legislature from investing in a full-day program requiring the quality improvements. The state should support quality improvement for all districts rather than giving incentives only to those districts that can already comply.


Pre-K Incentive Funding Proposal by callertimes

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

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