Education News

Report: Texas Preschool Scores High On Enrollment, Low On Quality

Texas enrolls about 20 percent of all children in state-funded preschool in the country.

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A good start can go a long way in a child’s education.

But a recent report found that Texas needs to do more to ensure that early start in preschool really is a good one for its students.

Texas meets only two out of ten quality benchmark standards. That’s the lowest rating out of any state in the country, according to Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

“The teacher doesn’t have to have a college degree. In none of the classrooms is there a limit on class-size. There could be 35, 40, in theory 100 four-year-olds, in a classroom with one teacher and no assistant,” he said.

On the brighter side, Barnett said that Texas is doing a pretty good job on enrollment.

Just over half of all four year olds in Texas are attending state-funded preschool. That’s better than the rest of the country at 29 percent.

“But Texas really hasn’t made any progress since 2010 and in some ways it’s gone backwards with funding cuts,” he said.

He said that Texas could dramatically improve its pre-K program if it raised teacher qualifications and put a limit on class size.

Barnett believes it’s a good sign that Texas lawmakers have endorsed an early education bill that ties extra money to some quality standards.

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