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Posts Tagged ‘pre-kindergarten’

A little trouble in paradise

It’s that time of the biennium, y’all. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s tea party advisory panel on Tuesday blasted Gov. Greg Abbott’s quality pre-K legislation as “socialistic” and “a threat to parental rights,” contributing friction to the already tense balancing act between the state’s top Republican leaders. “We are experimenting at great cost to taxpayers with […]

Budget passes House as most amendments get pulled

It was a long day in the House on Tuesday and Wednesday but not a terribly bloody one as many of the budget amendments and riders that had been queued up got withdrawn. A brief recap of the action: Border “security”: House Democrats tried — and mostly failed — to divert funds allotted for border […]

Let the budgetary games begin

The House takes up the budget today, with over 300 amendments and riders queued up for votes. A couple of things to watch for as the debate goes on: Killing vouchers. Lawmakers in the Texas House will have a chance to draw a line in the sand over private school vouchers during the upcoming battle […]

More pre-K bills filed

The Observer has the best reporting on the latest pre-k bills that have been filed in the Lege. There’s widespread support around the Capitol for more state spending on pre-kindergarten programs, and much less agreement about how to do it. State Reps. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) and Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown) have proposed a $300-million-a-year plan to […]

Abbott-style pre-k bill filed

From the inbox: State Representatives Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) and Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown) today filed a bill to provide incentive payments to school districts to provide full-day, quality pre-kindergarten. To receive the incentives, districts would be required to adopt best practices identified through research as delivering the best return on educational investment. Texas’ current system funds […]

What will happen with pre-K this session?

They say it’s a priority, though I would advise tempering one’s expectations. Currently, Texas funds a half day of preschool for 4-year-olds whose first language is not English, whose families have low incomes, whose parents are active duty military or who are in foster care. Texas has some of the weakest quality standards for preschool, […]

How Texas can improve its pre-k programs

From Raise Your Hand Texas: Raise Your Hand Texas recently released a report highlighting research-driven practices proven effective in public pre-kindergarten programs across the country, and comparing how Texas’ pre-k program stacks up. “Pre-Kindergarten for the Modern Age: A scalable, affordable, high-quality plan for Texas” was prepared by Dr. Robert Pianta, Dean of the Curry […]

Texas asks for federal funding for pre-k vouchers

Not sure how I feel about this. Teacher groups are up in arms as Texas seeks millions from the federal government to fund a new pre-K voucher program that would begin next fall. Last month, the Texas Education Agency applied for $30 million in prekindergarten grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, its share […]

More on the initial bill filings

From the Trib, a sampling: As of Monday afternoon, a bill repealing the Texas Dream Act, which allows undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state college tuition rates, had yet to emerge. Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick promised while campaigning that he would work to repeal the act. The bill could part of legislation that is reserved for priorities […]

Early Matters presents its case

They’ve got a good coalition. Let’s see where they can go with it. Access to preschool programs – and their quality – varies widely across Texas. A broad coalition of Houston-area executives, educators and nonprofit groups assembled by Houston’s premier business organization is working to change that, though a major hurdle remains: securing funding in […]

More on Early Matters

Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B Houston and also the chair of the Greater Houston Partnership Education Advisory Committee, pens an op-ed about the importance of pre-kindergarten and the latest effort to provide for it. It’s hard to believe, but more than 60 percent of children in Houston start kindergarten lacking basic letter identification skills and […]

Interview with Debra Kerner

We round out the county races this year with the Harris County Department of Education, a seven-member board that handles federal grants and provides various programs for the many independent school districts in Harris County. It’s hard to believe, but six years ago today there wasn’t a single Democrat on the HCDE. That started to […]

Trying again with pre-K

Different approach, hopefully a different result will follow. On the first day of school for most Houston-area children, a coalition called “Early Matters” organized by the Greater Houston Partnership announced Monday it would release a 10-year “game plan” at a summit next month to expand pre-kindergarten and child care programs and assist parents so they […]

Abbott’s appellate brief on same sex marriage is a complete loser

How weak does your case have to be to have to rely on this? Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed an appeal with the U.S. 5th Circuit Monday regarding the state’s same-sex marriage ban, which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in February. According to the brief, Abbott said Texas can ban same-sex marriage […]

Jay Aiyer: Consider a local option for pre-k

Note: From time to time, I solicit guest posts from various individuals on different topics. While I like to think I know a little something about a lot of things, I’m fortunate to be acquainted with a number of people who know a whole lot about certain topics, and who are willing to share some […]

On improving literacy

I have three things to say about this story. In Houston, a city known for its brilliant doctors and energy executives, adults are waiting in line for classes that teach basic literacy skills – reading, writing and speaking clearly. They can’t land jobs or promotions, can’t help their kids with homework. At the same time, […]

Another trip down Demography Lane

From the Sunday Chron op-ed pages: Texas is headed for the ditch, but few people are aware of the state’s perilous path. The demographers have seen the future, though, because it’s foretold in their numbers. And they’ve been sounding the alarm. There hasn’t been much of a public-policy response, so far. Texas could be the […]

Davis keeps up the attack on Abbott over pre-k

She is not letting up. While addressing the Texas State Teachers Association’s convention in San Marcos on Saturday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis accused her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, of backing away from his early education policy proposal. Abbott, the state’s attorney general, recently came under fire from Democrats and education advocates for language in […]

Abbott denies his pre-k plan means standardized testing for 4-year-olds

Glad we cleared that up. After questions were raised about language in a policy proposal that appears to call for the biannual testing of pre-kindergarten students, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s campaign is clarifying his early education plan, saying he is not calling for such tests. The proposal — the first detailed glimpse at Abbott’s education policy — […]

Abbott’s pre-K plan

It’s about what you’d expect from someone who isn’t particularly interested in improving public education. Announcing the first of his education policy proposals Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott called for reforming pre-kindergarten programs before expanding access, saying that additional funding should be tied to academic outcomes. Abbott’s plan, which was unveiled in Weslaco, proposes […]

AG opines against Early To Rise

This kind of snuck in there. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion Monday saying a court would likely have found a petition effort last year to send a 1-cent property tax hike to voters to buoy local preschools to be illegal. […] On Monday, Abbott wrote in a 4-page opinion addressed to state […]

Early To Rise referendum probably would have passed

For what it’s worth. It’s one of those questions we always ask ourselves in love, life and politics: What if? In this case, what if the Early to Rise campaign had gotten its one penny tax increase for early education on the ballot? “The good news for them is it was support for this. The […]

Early to Rise appeal denied

That pretty much wraps it up, for now at least. A controversial 1-cent property tax to buoy local preschools will not be on the November ballot following a Houston appeals court ruling. The 14th Court of Appeals, in an opinion issued late Thursday, rejected the Harris County School Readiness Corp.’s lawsuit to force County Judge […]

No Early To Rise on the ballot

Place your bets on the outcome of the litigation. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said Monday he would not place a 1-cent property tax on the November ballot intended to buoy area pre-schools, prompting a lawsuit by a local nonprofit that suppliedtens of thousands of signatures on a petition asking him to do so. Emmett, […]

The law and the Early To Rise petition process

Much has been made about the obscurity of the state law that allows for the petition process that the Early To Rise folks have followed to put an item on the ballot that would raise money for pre-K education in Harris County. The Chron takes a closer look at the statutes in question and the […]

Finally, the Early To Rise plan

This is what we’ve got after their presentation to the HCDE Board of Trustees on Tuesday. On Tuesday, the Harris County School Readiness Corp. pitched its plan to expand early education at a five-hour gathering with wary trustees for the Harris County Department of Education. The corporation’s proposal suggests that if voters approve a ballot […]

Time for more information about Early To Rise

What Lisa Falkenberg says. They’ve turned over more than 150,000 signatures in favor of putting an early education tax on the Harris County ballot in November. Now the folks behind the Early to Rise campaign need to turn over the details. Actually, they should have turned them over a while ago. The well-meaning folks who […]

Early To Rise submits its petitions

From here it gets real. The Harris County School Readiness Corp., a new nonprofit led by business and civic leaders, is calling for a ballot intiative to levy a 1-cent-per-$100 tax through the Harris County Department of Education to generate about $25 million a year for training teachers and buying school supplies for child care […]

Endorsement watch: Chron for Early To Rise

Technically, this isn’t an endorsement, since there isn’t anything to endorse just yet. Nonetheless, it is clear that the Chron supports the Early To Rise campaign. It looks like Harris County will vote on the future of the Astrodome this November. If we can get $200 million on the ballot for a convention center, we […]

School superintendents for Early To Rise

From the press release: (Houston, TX) Today Harris County Superintendents participated in a press conference for the Early to Rise campaign, which is seeking to create a dedicated funding stream to improve the quality of early childhood education through a ballot measure in November. Representing over 400,000 students and their families, the superintendents gave comments […]

Sheriff Garcia endorses the Early To Rise campaign

It makes sense that he would. The group attempting to get a 1-cent tax hike on the November ballot to bolster early childhood education programs got a hearty endorsement from Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia on Wednesday, and announced it had cleared the first major hurdle in putting its initiative to voters this fall. James […]

Petitioning for Early To Rise

This arrived in my inbox a couple of days ago: With only two weeks to go, we really need your help! We are working to get an initiative on the ballot in November 2013 to fund the Early to Rise Program. The Early to Rise is a program designed to help young children up to age 5 get […]

More on the HCDE pre-k proposal

Some more details on that pre-k proposal being pitched to the HCDE. It raises more questions than it answers. Members applauded the effort by the recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a non-profit group whose membership includes business, philanthropic and community leaders, including former Houston first lady Andrea White. At the end of the […]

Would you pay more for pre-K in Harris County?

You might get the chance to vote on it. The recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a group whose membership includes former Houston first lady Andrea White, is circulating a petition calling for the placement of an item on the next election ballot that would increase the county property tax rate by 1 cent, […]