86th Legislative Session

Welcome

Welcome to the Early Matters Advocacy Center.

Early Matters is multi-regional coalition, with chapters in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Texas, committed to enacting systemic change to increase awareness of the importance of early childhood education and expand access to high quality early learning environments to improve outcomes for all students across our state. We are thankful for your support in this effort. Our Advocacy Center will provide you with information on key issues related to early childhood education before, during, and after the 2019 legislative session, including resources such as one-pagers, reports, and opportunities to contact your state elected officials to advocate on behalf of this crucial matter.

Be sure to sign-up for our action alerts to receive the latest information on early childhood education.

Legislative Priorities

Early Matters is prioritizing several issues this legislative session. Explore the issues below to find background information and advocacy resources for each.

This session, Early Matters Dallas is supporting HB 3 by Representative Dan Huberty, which provides an additional $780 million in annual formula funding for school districts to invest in pre-K through 3rd grade early literacy supports, sufficient so that all school districts may implement full-day, high-quality pre-K for eligible students.

Full-day, high-quality pre-K is the most cost-efficient, impactful investment we can make in our students’ academic success. A child’s first years in school are foundational and set the tone for the remainder of their academic career. Students from high-quality pre-K programs are significantly more likely to be ready for Kindergarten and read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Students not meeting these critical benchmarks are up to four times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers.

Despite the critical importance of the early grades, the Texas legislature has come up short in terms of pre-K funding. After establishing the High Quality Pre-K Grant Program in 2015, which provided school districts with $118 million of grant funding to expand and improve their pre-K programs, the Texas legislature cut nearly $150 million in annual pre-K funds during the 2017 legislative session. Yet school districts maintain that pre-K is a critical investment, diverting funds from other budget areas to sustain their pre-K programs.

To learn more, and to help us advocate for this important issue, please use the resources below.

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This session, Early Matters Dallas is supporting HB 18 by Representative Four Price to require training on trauma-informed practices for teachers, and incorporate holistic trauma-informed practices into school district improvement plans.

Texas students are at great risk of experiencing trauma and toxic stressors. Whether from natural disasters, troubling events, or the everyday stress of poverty that 60% of Texas students endure, too many students experience trauma that, in large part, causes mental health and behavioral challenges that prevent them from excelling in school.

As trauma and toxic stress builds, young children act out, which can negatively impact academic outcomes. Unfortunately, traditional forms of discipline can often exacerbate a child’s misbehavior, and school personnel often lack the requisite training to recognize and mitigate behavioral problems resulting from trauma and toxic stress. Yet research indicates that a minimal amount of training in trauma-informed practices can prepare teachers to positively diffuse a student’s problematic behavior and enhance learning for all in the classroom.

Despite the critical importance of trauma-informed practices on student outcomes, Texas is one of just four states that does not require any pre-certification training on trauma-informed practices for teachers.

To learn more, and to help us advocate for this important issue, please use the resources below:

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This session, Early Matters Dallas is supporting HB 680 by Representative Joe Deshotel to (i) increase coordination between TWC and TEA to improve student outcomes and maximize taxpayer dollars, (ii) require TWC to set a vision for high-quality early childhood education, including goals for participation in TRS, and (iii) require TWC to publicly report data already collected by the agency regarding expenditures, TRS participation, capacity for infants and toddlers, and more.

Childcare subsidies are the largest expenditure in the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) budget at nearly $750 million per year. For this investment, TWC supports childcare providers across the state in providing care to over 100,000 children per day. Despite this sizable investment, there is too little public information about how this money is being spent and the quality of childcare programs receiving subsidy funds.

In fact, too many childcare programs receiving subsidy dollars are not quality accredited, yet TWC does not currently set goals regarding participation in the state’s quality childcare program, Texas Rising Star (TRS). Further, there is little alignment between data collected by TWC and the Texas Education Agency (TEA), preventing important information sharing that could make the transition from childcare to early school smoother.

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Get Involved

Legislative Priorities


Legislative Agenda


Past Sessions