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Texas

Amended Pre-K Bill Approved by Senate, Will Return to House

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Jennifer Whitney/Texas Tribune
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The Senate approved a bill intended to improve the quality of Texas pre-K by implementing accountability measures and curriculum standards.

Governor Greg Abbott’s bill to improve pre-kindergarten got one step closer to his desk yesterday. The Texas Senate approved House Bill 4 in a 25-6 vote. The Texas House had already approved the bill before sending it to the Senate, but it still has a few more hurdles to jump through.

The bill puts $130 million dollars toward pre-K programs, but those programs would have to meet certain standards to receive the money, including teacher certification and curriculum standards.

The Senate-approved bill includes some amendments, so the revised bill now heads back to the House for approval.

Those amendments include a cap on teacher-student ratios: one teacher or aide for every 11 students. The Senate also approved an amendment that would require any data about pre-K quality to be available to the public.

Quality pre-K is one of Abbott’s priorities for the legislative session. 

The governor released a statement after the vote, saying that the bill's passage is "essential to implementing high-quality education standards for Texas pre-K students, providing them with the tools necessary to succeed, and improving accountability and transparency measures for participating pre-K programs across the state."

The bill continues to only fund pre-K for low-income students, English Language learners, students from military families and homeless students. It also does not fund full-day pre-K.

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