Despite big talk on both local and federal levels, it’s become clear that pre-K is not high on many priority lists. This year marked the largest budget cut that preschool program Head Start has seen in its five-decade history. Just a couple years back, almost a quarter of U.S. states cut back on funding for preschool programs. But, unlike in many cities, preschool in Houston remains a top priority.
When it looked like other areas may fall short, Harris County turned local for help supporting preschool in Houston. A group called Early to Rise, made up of community members, hope to raise property taxes to help fund an increase in early education in child care programs.
Early to Rise’s preschool initiative would rely on a tax increase of one penny per $100 of home value. The plan would create a funding stream focused directly on increasing early childhood education in the form of added training and funds for already existing preschool programs. The group strongly believes that increasing the amount of learning in preschool will help children start kindergarten motivated and focused. A strong preschool education is like a jump start to a life-long learning journey.
So far, Early to Rise has gained 150,000 signatures in favor of the tax raise that will fund their initiative. Only time will tell what kind of difference it will make for preschool in Houston.
-“Houston Rockets Pre-K to the Top of the Priority List” Prospect.org: http://prospect.org/article/houston-rockets-pre-k-top-priority-list
-“It’s time for answers on Early to Rise” Houston Chronicle: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/falkenberg/article/It-s-time-for-answers-on-Early-to-Rise-4736882.php
-Early to Rise: http://www.earlytorisekids.com/plan.html
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