aduated pre-K student holding picture frame that reads "Today I completed Pre-K. Tomorrow I will be a ..."


Texas Pre-K: Celebrating Milestones and Shaping the Future

June 26, 2024  

At the end of the 2023-24 school year, pre-kindergarten students across Texas celebrated the very beginning of their educational journey with graduation and completion ceremonies. Over 243,000 Texas students are enrolled in pre-K. However, approximately 225,000 eligible 3-year-olds and 57,000 eligible 4-year-olds are not currently enrolled in a program.

Graduated pre-K student with picture frame that says, "Today I completed Pre-K. Tomorrow I will be a ... Firefighter"Teachers Kathryn O’Neal and Brittany Lee, at Butler Elementary in Arlington, Texas, expressed emotional farewells to their students. They highlighted the learning, growth, and confidence their pre-K students gained throughout the school year. Arlington ISD’s director of early childhood learning, Dr. Jackeline Orsini said, “Seeing them now so confident, so happy, in love with school – it’s amazing” emphasizing the transformation and readiness of young learners. 

Matthew Hall, senior regional advocacy director at Raise Your Hand Texas, applauds the district’s commitment to pre-K to students. “Early learning education is critical for the future of our workforce in Texas,” said Hall.

Pre-K promotes growth and serves as a stepping stone for kindergarten readiness. Considering most brain development occurs between birth and 5 years, and 90% of brain growth is completed by the age of 5, the pre-K years are the most impressionable time for brain development. 

Research shows through high-quality pre-K programs, students are more likely to meet critical reading and math benchmarks in 3rd grade. Additionally, early childhood education can be linked to minimizing educational gaps and improving health and longevity. A National Bureau of Economic Research study also linked pre-K attendance to increased high school graduation rates, on-time college attendance, and four-year college attendance.

Texas Eligibility Requirements

Texas provides a publicly-funded pre-K program for 3- and 4-year-olds who meet strict eligibility requirements. Those who do not meet the eligibility requirements may find it difficult to afford these programs. If classroom space is available, ineligible families are required to pay tuition, which starts at around $6,000 per year for full-day service. 

In the coming year, Raise Your Hand Texas will continue work embarked on in 2019. The “Stop the Yo-Yo: Fully Fund High-Quality Pre-K” pushed the 86th Texas Legislature to invest $800 million in early childhood education. The investment established the Texas Early Education Allotment and full-day pre-K programs for eligible 4-year-olds. By ensuring more equitable access and setting a strong foundation for student success across the state, Raise Your Hand Texas will continue to advocate for advancements in public education.

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