Goal One: School Readiness

Source: 2017 Blueprint Annual Report

Why We Care

Fewer than half of children enter Kindergarten ready to succeed in school. By supporting school readiness in the earliest years, the community can save money on expensive interventions later when the achievement gap widens, while ensuring more children are prepared to be college and career ready.

  • E3 Alliance’s School Readiness Study showed that only 46% of students in the region, and just 28% of low income students, were ready to succeed in school when starting Kindergarten in 2016.[i]
  • Central Texas children in poverty have grown at 2 ½ times the rate of the state and the country in the last decade.[ii]
  • When taking into account other factors such as student demographics, a child who was in Pre-K the year prior to Kindergarten is three times more likely to be ready for Kindergarten.[iii]
  • Kindergarten Readiness is a strong predictor of student success: a student who was Kindergarten Ready is 4-5 more times likely to pass state reading and math assessments in third grade.[iii]
  • Children who are not ready for Kindergarten are at high risk of staying behind. The costs of not preparing children at a young age include higher rates of grade retention, intervention, remediation, and special education.[iv]
  • Every $1 invested in quality early care and education saves taxpayers up to $9 in future costs.[iv]

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[i] E3 Alliance Analysis of Ready, Set, K! weighted data 2016-17

[ii] Kids Count Data Center, Central Texas: Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties

[iii] E3 Alliance analysis of Ready, Set, K! and data at the Education Research Center at UT Austin

[iv] Heckman et al., 2009b Heckman, J.J., Moon, S.H., Pinto, R., Savelyev, P.A., Yavitz, A.Q., 2009b. A Reanalysis of the HighScope Perry Preschool Program, unpublished manuscript, University of Chicago, Department of Economics. First draft, September, 2006.

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Accomplishments
  • Released policy research demonstrating clear evidence of how readiness in Kindergarten is predictive of both math and reading mastery at third grade.
  • Received state approval for Pre-K progress monitoring tool Ready, Set, K!, that helps teachers tailor instruction so that students in Pre-K are on track to enter Kindergarten ready for school.
  • Partnered in an effort to enroll more children in free Pre-K programs; Despite a drop in regional enrollment in 2014, preliminary data show that 2016 fall Pre-K enrollment is up 7%.1
  • Uncovered correlational links between drops in critical early childhood services and drop in school readiness.

1ARRO Pre-K Enrollment Campaign compares 2015 to 2016 beginning of the year fall Pre-K enrollment self-reported by districts, for: Austin ISD, Bastrop ISD, Del Valle ISD, Elgin ISD, Georgetown ISD, Hays CISD, Hutto ISD, Leander ISD, Manor ISD, Pflugerville ISD, Round Rock ISD, San Marcos CISD, Taylor ISD, representing approximately 80% of Central Texas regional Pre-K enrollment.

Initiatives
  • Ready, Set, K! Kindergarten Readiness Standard and Pre-K Progress Monitoring Tool     

In 2009, the School Readiness District Taskforce developed the state’s first multi-dimensional Kindergarten  Readiness standard, designed with built-in Response to Intervention. In tandem a tool box for Pre-K teachers  was developed to calibrate instruction for students. The latest longitudinal research shows a student’s  Kindergarten Readiness rating is highly predictive of their math and reading mastery at third grade.

  • School Readiness Parent Guide                                                                                                            

Just as Ready, Set, K! helps teachers build and measure school readiness, the School Readiness Parent Guide helps families help their children develop foundational skills such as problem solving, self-regulation, persistence, communications and emerging literacy and math skills within the home environment. Over 125,000 guides have been given to families to help build skills at home that lead to school success.

  • AARO’s Big Bet in Education

E3 Alliance has worked closely with the Austin Area Research Organization’s (AARO) Education Committee to enroll every eligible child not currently in a child care program into Pre-K programs. Every year in Central Texas, over 2,000 low-income 4-year-olds are eligible for FREE public school Pre-K, but they don’t enroll.2 By enrolling these eligible 4-year-olds in high quality Pre-K, our region would realize a $30M rreturn on investment, per annual cohort of students, over the students’ lifetimes.3

  • The School Readiness Action Plan for Travis County

As part of the School Readiness Action Plan Leadership Team facilitated by United Way for Greater Austin, E3 Alliance works with partners to strategically align goals and strategies so that all children are ready for school when they enter Kindergarten.

Links for materials:


2Analysis based on enrollment data from the UT Austin Education Research Center and data gathered through the 2016 Kindergarten Readiness Study.

3Analysis based on Taylor et al. (2006), Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University model using data from Kindergarten