It's Time For Universal, Full Day Pre-K In Texas, Says Children At Risk | KERA News

It's Time For Universal, Full Day Pre-K In Texas, Says Children At Risk

Feb 16, 2016

For kids to be ready for college or the workforce, educators have to start early. Several groups argued today in Dallas that the state and schools need to invest in kids even before they get to kindergarten.

Children At Risk, a statewide non-profit, says Governor Abbott’s emphasis on high quality pre-k is a good start.  Some school districts, like Fort Worth, push full-day pre-k district wide. Children At Risk CEO, Bob Sanborn says it’s time for more.

“We need to say as a state, listen, we have this very big part of our population that is keyed up for not being successful,” Sanborn says. “How are we going to turn this around? And the best bang for our buck is high quality early education.”

Sanborn’s organization joined other groups in Dallas this morning to make the business case for universal Pre-k. Statistics back that up, says Regen Fearon, with Early Matters Dallas, a coalition of private and public groups.  

“The investment in quality early childhood education is the most cost effective and efficient means to improving education outcomes and therefore our workforce,” Fearon says.

Laurie Larrea, with Workforce Solutions Dallas says that means childcare assistance for many working mothers and fathers. Otherwise, she says today’s 3 year-olds won’t be ready for work when they’re grown.

”If you do not have the workforce in the pipeline, the employers will stop growing, will stop coming, Larrea says. “It’s a huge investment in our community to take care of your youngest, bring them up with proper nutrition, safety, education, early reading skills. All of that that, that built the prior generation.”

Sanborn says this campaign is a long-term effort to fund early childhood education in Texas for those with the greatest need – typically low-income minority children