EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF TEXAS PRE-KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS ON KINDERGARTEN READINESS
The availability of early childhood education to students in poverty continues to grow across the United States. Pre-kindergarten programs provide intervention for four-year-old students to close early learning gaps and prepare students for kindergarten. Little research exists to show if pre-kindergarten programs in Texas achieve this goal. This study presents the ongoing need for quality pre-kindergarten programs to meet the needs of students arriving with deficits in language and academic skills. The present state of pre-kindergarten programs nationwide is presented with a primary focus on the data from Texas programs. The study sought to establish if students are arriving at kindergarten ready to learn, especially students who attended pre-kindergarten. Kindergarten readiness data was analyzed to show differences in the kindergarten readiness of educationally disadvantaged students. Lastly, a multiple regression analysis was utilized to determine if variables of pre-kindergarten programs can predict kindergarten readiness achievement. This study demonstrates that pre-kindergarten closes the gap for students who attend and helps surpass others who do not attend pre-kindergarten by a 27% increase in kindergarten readiness scores. While tremendous gains have been made, economically disadvantaged students struggle with kindergarten readiness. Continued focus on early childhood education is still needed, as there is more work to do to meet the goal of the Texas Early Learning Council.