From the Chair - October 27, 2011

The month of October has been one of transitions for the Texas Early Learning Council. If you have been receiving our email updates or you attended our recent webinar, you know by now that the Council has decided to change directions on our data systems project, The On-Track System (TOTS). After nearly six months of research, stakeholder engagement, and deliberation, it became clear that the barriers in front of this ambitious project could not be surmounted in the Council's short three-year time frame. Instead, we will take the rich information we gathered during the process and submit thorough recommendations to the Governor to move Texas towards building a first-rate interagency early childhood data system that meets the needs of parents, providers, and policymakers in the future. Council staff is currently in the process of researching and devising suggestions for the reinvestment of funds reserved for TOTS, and, we should have some concrete plans for the public by early December, 2011.

Although we changed directions with TOTS, the Council is moving forward on several other exciting projects. For instance, staff posted two RFPs this week: one for a consultant to draft new voluntary Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines for Texas; the other for a Consultant to draft recommendations for a Texas Quality Rating & Improvement System. Please help us spread the word about these opportunities! Another exciting project that moved forward this month is the Council-commissioned family child care research study, which we are now calling Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home (BEECH). To learn more about this exciting and pioneering project, read the Council's working paper on the subject here

John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

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