Study: Less than half of Central Texas kindergarteners were prepared for school in 2017

Raul Alvarez, executive director of Community Advancement Network, leads a press conference with local leaders regarding the latest socioeconomic indicators in Travis County.

Raul Alvarez, executive director of Community Advancement Network, leads a press conference with local leaders regarding the latest socioeconomic indicators in Travis County.

Fifty-one percent of Central Texas students were unprepared for kindergarten in 2017, a new report finds.

The findings were presented at news conference held June 7 by the Community Advancement Network, a consortium of government, private, nonprofit and faith-based organizations that collaborate to gather data on socioeconomic indicators in Travis County. School preparedness indicators include social, emotional and cognitive skills deemed appropriate for kindergarten-aged students, according to E3 Alliance, an Austin-based education research group.

CAN Executive Director Raul Alvarez said not addressing school preparedness issues could set back recent progress among low income Travis County students.

“The achievement gaps [between low-income and non-low income students] have narrowed in terms of high school graduation,” Alvarez said. “But what we see in the early childhood is we could lose some of those gains if we don't address this issue as children are entering our school system.”

A study by E3 Alliance referenced in CAN’s annual report found 35 percent of low-income students in Central Texas were prepared for kindergarten in 2017 compared to 60 percent of non-low income students.

To address the issue, Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion said local officials need to place an emphasis on pre-K education, including support for Head Start, a federally funded pre-K system and family support program.

“We need to focus more on what happens with our kids from [ages] zero to six. It means we have got to support programs like Head Start and quality child care that includes learning as well,” Travillion said. “This is a challenge that we're confronted with and we're going to have to address as a community if we want this region to continue to be competitive.”

Other initiatives in the area CAN identified as critical to improving kindergarten preparedness are The United Way of Greater Austin’s School Readiness Action Plan, E3 Alliance’s Blueprint for Educational Change and a mentorship program called Friends of the Children.

School preparedness was one of many socioeconomic indicators evaluated by CAN. View the organization’s full 2018 annual report here.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Emma Whalen

Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered health care and public education in Austin.


MOST RECENT

Dripping Springs has received two grants from the Texas Department of Transportation to complete sidewalk improvements projects. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Dripping Springs receives $2.8 million in TxDOT grants for local sidewalk projects

Projects will include work along Rob Shelton Boulevard and that will connect Dripping Springs Middle and High schools.

A photo of the Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees
Dripping Springs ISD presents on growth, debt ahead of regular board meeting

Dripping Springs ISD ranks 14th for debt among comparable districts.

Early voting for the March 3 primary elections began Feb. 18. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Southwest Austin 2020 Primary Election Guide

Find out which candidates will be on Southwest Austin ballots.

State Sen. Kirk Watson announced his resignation from state government Feb. 18. A number of local politicians have expressed interest in the seat.
Who is interested in Kirk Watson’s Senate seat? Here is where local members of the state House stand

State Reps. Gina Hinojosa and Eddie Rodriguez say they are "seriously considering" a run for the District 14 seat.

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz addresses the media on Feb. 20 after announcing plans to resign.
Outgoing Superintendent Paul Cruz says 'work will continue' in Austin ISD as transition plan is developed

A timeline for Cruz's departure has not yet been established by Austin ISD.

Austin taps downtown homeless shelter operator to expand permanent supportive housing program

Experts hold up permanent supportive housing as crucial to ending chronic homelessness.

Gold's Gym now open on South Congress near Slaughter Lane

Gold's Gym opened its new South Austin location in late January.

Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet now open on Stassney Lane

The Texas restaurant chain offers a lunch and dinner buffet.

54th Street Grill is expected to open a South Austin location in 2021. (Courtesy 54th Street Grill)
54th Street Grill planning South Austin location

54th Street Grill will open a South Austin location in 2021.

A photo of young adults creating artwork.
Cordovan Art School & Pottery Parlor to open new location in Southwest Austin

The new art school will open on West Hwy. 290 on March 1.

Velocity Credit Union will break ground on a Dripping Springs location this year

Construction will begin on a new Velocity Credit Union branch this summer.

Back to top