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Coalition Wants To Revolutionize Early Education In Greater Houston

Leaders from business, education and government work on 10-year action plan.

The Early Matters Coalition
The Early Matters Coalition gathers on the first day of school to discuss the importance of early education. Photo Credit: Greater Houston Partnership / Richard Carson

The Early Matters Coalition consists of more than 50 leaders from business, education and government.

Its goal is to improve early childhood education and put kids in a better position to pursue their career goals.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because a similar coalition was trying to improve early education by pushing for a tax increase in Harris County last fall.

That plan was thwarted by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who supports early education but didn’t agree with the way the last coalition went about it.

The Early Matters coalition is only in its studying stage. But they have an idea of what needs to be done.

“Let’s take on getting kids to read at grade level at the end of third grade,” said Scott McClelland, president of the Houston division of the grocery chain HEB. “If we can do that, we will dramatically increase the chances that students will go on to graduate. Because if you can’t read, you’ll probably drop out mentally, only to drop out physically later.”

Scott McClelland
Scott McClelland, President, Houston Division, HEB, and Chair, GHP Education Committee discusses the importance of early education for Houston’s future workforce. Photo Credit: Greater Houston Partnership / Richard Carson

McClelland is also chair of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Education Advisory Committee.

Terry Grier, superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, said there are several steps the coalition wants to take.

“Trying to have some type of consistent training for daycare providers, trying to provide pre-Kindergarten school all day long for all 4-year-olds and to as many 3-year-olds as we possibly can,” Grier said.

If the Early Matters coalition has anything going for them, it’s that this time they have the support of Judge Emmett, at least for the time being.

Funding is supposed to come from the state, local governments and philanthropy.

 

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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