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 are.

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.

Click here to view the Council's press release on the statewide early childhood needs assessment.

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.

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