STUDY: High-quality public Pre-K programs essential to academic success for low-income students

The Meadows Foundation & CHILDREN AT RISK Release Key Findings from Pre-K Study

HOUSTON, Feb. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/  A major statewide study in Texas involving 47,000 students reveals public Pre-K programs are associated with higher reading scores on the state’s annual standardized reading assessment. Texas has the second highest K-12 public school student enrollment in the country and educational developments in Texas have the potential to have a rippling effect throughout the nation. This study puts Pre-K at the center of a national discussion on how to best improve education.

The study produced by The Meadows Foundation and CHILDREN AT RISK, Pre-K in Texas: A Critical Component for Academic Success, is the most recent, large-scale Texas-specific Pre-K study since 2012. CHILDREN AT RISK tracked nearly 47,000 students that began Pre-K in 2010 and completed 3rd grade in 2015 in five major urban school districts in Texas (Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio), and 12 additional school districts surrounding these metropolitan areas. Variables included student enrollment, district Pre-K expenditures, demographics, and socioeconomic characteristics.

Key Findings:

  • On average, economically disadvantaged students who attended Pre-K in 2010, scored 78 points higher on the 2015 state reading test in 3rd grade compared to economically disadvantaged students who did not attend public Pre-K or who attended lower quality public Pre-K.
  • Texas has improved the percentage of the economically disadvantaged students across the state reading at a college – ready pace by 1% from 2012 to 2015. The Meadows Foundation and CHILDREN AT RISK study projects that the 1% number would have increased to 16% if all economically disadvantaged students had attended Pre-K and scored 78 points higher. 

Funded by The Meadows Foundation and the Miles Foundation, the report has been distributed to policymakers, school districts, and early education stakeholders as the Texas legislature considers how to fund Pre-K during the current legislative session.

CHILDREN AT RISK is a non-profit organization leading the way to improving the quality of life for Texas’ children through research, collaboration, and advocacy. CHILDREN AT RISK educates the community and public officials based on its groundbreaking research which tracks children’s health, safety, education, and economic conditions. By understanding children’s needs and speaking out on their behalf, CHILDREN AT RISK drives change. For more information, visit, Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT |  Rashena Flagg, 713.301.4577