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Invest in Our Future

When the 2011 Texas Legislature eliminated all state grants for full-day pre-Kindergarten programs, it was a body blow to many struggling Texas families. But the harm to our state’s economic and social future may be far greater.

Education dollars invested now pay big dividends later – and nowhere is this benefit more evident than in high quality pre-Kindergarten programs.  Numerous studies show that, for every $1 invested in high quality pre-K, taxpayers save up to $7 in future costs by reducing the need for remedial and special education, welfare, and criminal justice services. (Sources: “The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California”, Rand Corporation; The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project).

Children who have benefited from high-quality pre-K programs begin school with more advanced skills in areas such as problem solving, following directions and joining in activities, allowing teachers to spend more time on core curriculum and less on classroom management. And the success fostered by pre-K lasts a lifetime. Students who have benefited from these programs consistently show higher graduation rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, employment at higher wages, and more stable family lives as adults. In short, they are far more likely to become contributing members of society with a positive impact on our economy.

With the massive funding cuts of 2011, the Texas Legislature forced school districts to make an excruciating choice: lose full-day pre-K for those who need it most or cut other critical programs. The result has been diminished prospects for many Texas children, with long-term consequences for us all.

High quality pre-K is one of the smartest education investments Texas can make, setting the stage for lasting educational and economic success. Let’s be sure state leaders restore this crucial funding for Texas’ youngest learners – our future depends on it.

For more information, visit http://www.preknow.org

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