Press Release - Texas Early Learning Council Announces Early Childhood Data Summit in Austin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HOUSTON - July 21, 2011

The Texas Early Learning Council will host an Early Childhood Data Summit to solicit critical stakeholder feedback on The On-Track System (TOTS), an in-development, integrated, comprehensive early childhood data collection system for Texas.  The Data Summit will take place on July 25, 2011 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

The Council recently contracted with Deloitte Consulting, LLP, one of the largest consulting services companies in the United States, to: develop a strategic plan to achieve information sharing among the various early education data-collecting entities in Texas; conduct a stakeholder review; and, design a framework for the new TOTS data system.

The Data Summit will bring together more than 100 early childhood stakeholders from across the state, representing all early childhood education sectors, including educators, center directors, researchers, and policymakers.  The full-day event will consider the feasibility of TOTS.

The development of recommendations for an integrated early childhood data system is a required deliverable for all State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care throughout the United States, as authorized by the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007.  However, the Texas Early Learning Council hopes to move beyond recommendations by creating a unified early childhood information exchange system in Texas, merging data from multiple agencies and increasing access for all stakeholders, while maintaining data security.

"Right now we are trying to learn as much as we can about the many different types of early childhood data collected and stored in the state, and how we might best combine and reorganize that data," says John Gasko, Ph.D., Council Chair.  "The Data Summit will give us the information we need to take critical steps towards making TOTS a reality."

The Texas Early Learning Council hopes that TOTS will one day support and inform parents, teachers, child care providers, and policymakers on the quality and effectiveness of early childhood programs in Texas.

The Texas Early Learning Council is a 19-member, governor-appointed advisory council on early childhood education and care.  In 2010, the Council began an ambitious three-year federal grant to improve school readiness in Texas.  Over the next three years, the Texas Early Learning Council will embark on dozens of key strategic improvements to the Texas early care and education system. For more information, please visit www.earlylearningtexas.org.

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