Education News

Texas Lawmakers Weigh Different Ways to Change Pre-K

One proposal would tie extra funding to higher standards.

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Scott McClelland
Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B’s Houston division, chairs the education advisory committee for the Greater Houston Partnership. He spoke in September 14, 2014 about early childhood education. Photo courtesy of Early Matters.

Since Gov. Greg Abbott named early education one of his emergency items, the push for pre-K in Texas has been gaining momentum.

Now state lawmakers are starting to consider different pre-K proposals. There are about half a dozen ideas on the table in Austin.

Currently, Texas funds half-day pre-kindergarten for certain students. They have to be from a low-income family, a military family, or learning English.

But that set-up could change soon.

“The question at this point is not so much in my mind ‘Will something be done?’ but ‘What will be done? And will it be significant enough?” said Scott McClelland, president of the grocery chain H-E-B in Houston and also chair of the early education coalition, Early Matters.

That group and others are pushing for changes like smaller classes and full-day pre-K instead of half-day.

Ann Beeson, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, hopes lawmakers will stop funding pre-K with grants.

“By far, the fairest way to do it is the same way we fund K-12 education. Otherwise, what happens is that there are winner districts and loser districts,” she said.

So far one of the major proposals in Austin from Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, would tie extra funding to higher standards.

 

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