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.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


MOST RECENT

The Austin Trail of Lights will open nighly from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31. (Courtesy Trail of Lights Foundation)
PHOTOS: Austin Trail of Lights returns to Zilker Park this week

The traditional holiday light show is open from Nov. 28 through New Year's Eve.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.

The utility's board of directors will vote on the proposed changes at December's meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
PEC members ask board to not raise solar rates

The utility's board of directors will vote on the proposed changes at December's meeting.

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. (Courtesy KXAN)
State, local officials react to Texas governor, Samsung joint announcement

Local and state officials have made statements welcoming Samsung to Taylor following the announcement that the city will be home to its new $17 billion semiconductor fabrication plant. 

Austin City Council will meet for a work session dedicated to housing affordability discussions Nov. 30. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Austin City Hall notebook: Council set for dive into housing, development after Thanksgiving break

A Nov. 30 work session could see city leaders work through a range of adjustments to city development code, rules and processes.

The new initiative will build the communities capacity to address homelessness along with collecting data from people who have increased access to those in need. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
ECHO, St. David's Foundation launch new program to build a community approach to homelessness

The program aims to address inequities in traditional homelessness response.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Bill Curci is a chief operating partner for Shuck Me, a seafood restaurant in Fort Worth. (Bailey Lewis/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Fort Worth restaurant Shuck Me is fishing- and family-centric; a guide to Houston's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 23.

Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County health authority, discusses Thanksgiving safety at a news conference. (Darcy Sprague/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin health authorities remind community of COVID-19 risk ahead of Thanksgiving

Austin health officials warned of a high rate of community transmission ahead of Thanksgiving.

Lizzy and Brandon Simon are running the North Austin location. (Courtesy Lizzy Simon)
Operation Turkey to provide thousands in need with Thanksgiving meals

One local couple is running a North Austin site with the goal of serving 2,500 meals to those in need this Thanksgiving.

Williamson County officials met with Samsung executives at Dell Diamond in January. (Courtesy Williamson County)
For the love of the game: How baseball may have been perfect start for Samsung in Williamson County

The first attempt to bring Samsung to Williamson County relied on a passion for what is considered America’s pastime.