Texas Early Childhood Education Needs Assessment
The Council is proud to present the first comprehensive,
statewide early childhood education needs assessment in more than
40 years! The
Texas Early Childhood Education Needs Assessment: Final Report,
released in October 2012, is a summary of the work that was
completed on this important project.
Additional Reports from the Texas Early Childhood
Education Needs Assessment
In April 2011, the Council contracted with the Ray Marshall Center at the
University of Texas at Austin to conduct the statewide early
childhood needs assessment. To complete the population
projections, the Ray Marshall Center contracted with the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at
Rice University, led by Dr. Steve Murdock, former Texas State
Demographer and Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. The needs
assessment was conducted using the most current data from the 2010
U.S. Census and from Texas state agencies.
This project was completed in Fall 2012. The first report
to be released was the final report, a summary of the findings of
this important study. The supplemental reports from the needs
assessment, a new demographic profile of Texas, population
projections to 2040, and a new gap analysis of services, were
released after the final report. These supplemental reports
contain more information on the needs assessment, including tables
of the data available by county, council of government (COG)
region, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA).
Needs Assessment Approach
A key priority of the Texas Early Learning Council is to update
our state's understanding of the school readiness needs of its
young children. In order to make good decisions about early
care and education policymakers, providers, and community leaders
need to understand the challenges facing families with young
children and how our various early care and education programs are
equipped or unprepared to handle those challenges. The Council's
contractors, the Ray Marshall Center and the Hobby Center,
approached this task through two strategies.
First, the needs assessment researchers studied the availability
and quality early care and education in our state, compared to our
quickly shifting demographics. Texas has the fastest growing
early childhood population in the country. That growth
contains dramatic shifts in population composition. For
example, the number of English Language Learners will continue to
grow at a rapid rate in the state, adding complexity to the
challenges of improving school readiness in Texas. The researchers
studied recent census data and other demographic resources to gain
a precise understanding of what the state's early childhood
population looks like and what the needs of that population
Then, through thorough analysis of Texas' early care and
education programs, the researchers identified gaps in our
system. Does Texas have the program capacity to ensure that
ALL children are school ready when they enter Kindergarten?
Do parents of children with disabilities have options in selecting
high-quality programs for their children? Can rural families
find sufficient care around them to meet their needs? These
questions and more will be answered through this analysis.
This information will give policymakers and stakeholders better
insight in how best to target resources.
On October 29, 2012, the
Texas Early Childhood Education Needs Assessment: Final Report
was released in Austin at a
one-day conference. The Ray Marshall Center and the Hobby
Center, the two contractors on this project, presented data from
the needs assessment and offered some policy recommendations.
The final report includes key findings from the needs assessment,
including from the demographic profile, population projection to
2040, analysis of early childhood programs and services in Texas,
and gap analysis. See pictures from the event on our Facebook page.
Data from the Texas early childhood needs assessment will be
used to guide the development of the Council's statewide public
outreach campaign in the third year of our grant.