Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool

The Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool is here!

 

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Visit the Comparison Tool on the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office's website:

http://thssco.uth.tmc.edu/comparisontool

After two years of research and development, the new Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool is online and ready for use!  The Council hopes that this new tool will help early childhood stakeholders learn more about the program and accreditation standards that apply to early care and education programs in Texas.  It's the Council's vision that the comparison tool will help increase collaboration among early childhood programs.  Visit the Comparison Tool to learn more!

The comparison tool is an online database of early childhood program standards and accreditation standards.  Scroll down to see a list of the standards included in the comparison tool.  When you visit the comparison tool, you will be able to search through these standards through two options: a keyword search or a sorting feature that helps you narrow your selection.  For example, if you're interested in staff:child ratio standards, you can keyword search "ratios" or check through the boxes in the search tool.  Users can review information for up to three different program standards or accreditations and can print their results for later reference.

When you visit, please review the information on the other pages of the comparison tool.  We utilized three focus groups to gather information on important features for the comparison tool.  We have information on the different program standards and accreditations available to programs in Texas, and quick access "Standards at a Glance," tables of commonly sought standards like staff:child ratios and learning environment standards.

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The Council created an information page about the Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool to help share this new resource with the early childhood community in Texas.

Please download this flyer and share it with your colleagues.

Learn more about the Comparison Tool

Early care and education programs in Texas follow different standards: Head Start Program Performance Standards, Child Care Licensing Minimum Standards, or local school district standards. Programs must also navigate a complex system of options for quality improvement efforts. Child Care providers serving subsidized children may participate in the Texas Rising Star program, while public schools, Head Start, and child care may all participate in the Texas School Ready! Program. Multiple organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP), the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and others offer voluntary quality accreditation services. Standards and review processes vary considerably among these quality improvement strategies, as well.

Parents, providers, and policymakers struggle with this confusing landscape of regulations and standards. For parents, the complicated choices related to selecting quality care are made more confusing. For providers, knowledge is needed on where standards overlap and where they depart, as the push for collaboration among child care, Head Start, and Public Schools has increased dramatically in recent times. The future of early care and education is integrated mixed delivery systems, which requires that all sectors have a shared understanding of each other's program requirements. Finally, policymakers must be given the tools to understand the competing definitions of program quality operating throughout early care and education in order to make informed decisions related to program funding.

The Improving Head Start for Readiness Act of 2007 required the Governor of each state to establish a State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care. The federal legislation requires that each Council:

Identify opportunities for, and barriers to, collaboration and coordination among Federally-funded and State-funded child development, child care, and early childhood education programs and services, including collaboration and coordination among State agencies responsible for administering such program.

To satisfy this mandate, the Texas Early Learning Council created an online early care and education comparison tool, also known as a Crosswalk. The comparison tool will allow early childhood stakeholders to readily investigate and compare competing sets of regulations and standards operating in Texas early care and education. The tool was designed for multiple audiences (Parents, Providers, and Policymakers), and each audience has the ability to query a database of program standards on key variables such as safety standards, staff qualifications, curriculum, etc.

The following program standards and accreditations are included in the new Texas Early Childhood Program Standards Comparison Tool:

Texas Pre-Kindergarten Laws
Head Start/Early Head Start Performance Standards
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Licensing Minimum Standards
Texas Rising Star Provider Certification Guidelines
Department of Defense Military Child Care Standards and Effectiveness Rating and Improvement System (ERIS)
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
National Association of Child Care Professionals (NAC)
National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
National After-School Association (NAA)
National Early Childhood Program Association (NECPA)
Association of Christian Schools International (ASCI)

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