Education News

Pre-K Bill Makes Its Way Through Texas Legislature

A bill making its way through the state legislature includes major changes to early childhood education, but some say the reforms don’t go far enough.

 

House Bill 4 aims to incentivize schools to improve their pre-K programs. The legislation would provide up to $1,500 more per child to districts that meet standards like curriculum guidelines and teacher certification.

But some say the changes need to be more comprehensive. Chandra Villanueva is with the Center for Public Policy Priorities. She says some districts simply don’t have the resources to meet these standards.

“So we would have liked to see something in the bill that helped identify our most struggling districts with the greatest needs and funnel additional funds their way to help them build up the quality of their programs,” Villanueva says.

Texas currently funds half-day pre-K for certain students — those who are low-income, learning English or come from a military family. Many advocates are still pushing for full-day pre-K and limits on class sizes.

David Anthony is CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas. He says the bill, backed by Governor Greg Abbott, is a good starting point for reform.

“We knew that it was an uphill climb, and I think that because of his leadership, we did get a bill passed through the House and through the Senate,” Anthony says.

HB 4 now returns to the House for final approval before heading to the governor’s desk. 

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