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2021 Philanthropy Advocates Policy Recommendations

Philanthropy Advocates: Restart and Reimagine Public Education

December 18, 2020
Philanthropy Advocates empowers Texas’ philanthropic community to invest and engage in public and higher education policy and advocacy. We work to protect, promote, and improve public and higher education so that all Texas students can achieve their educational goals from cradle to career.
 
Back in 2018, Philanthropy Advocates constructed, convened and mobilized a “big tent” of advocates and allies in support of school finance reform leading up to and during the 86th Texas Legislature. The effort united philanthropy, the business community, public education advocates and other partners, driving home the message, grounded in data and research, that money matters in public education.
 
The landmark reforms (House Bill 3) that passed the Texas Legislature in 2019 demonstrated the power of Philanthropy Advocates’ members and the larger advocacy community to generate broad-based, bipartisan support for consequential, critical, historic reforms of our state’s public education system.
 
Now, as the Texas Legislature returns to Austin this month, it’s not an understatement to call the 87th Regular Session, the COVID Session. The ongoing global pandemic will drive the budget and policies debates across all aspects of state government next year.
 
There are very clear and immediate funding and policy needs facing our state’s public schools in light of COVID-19. The pandemic is also shining a brighter light and attention on the persistent inequity that plagues our K-12 and higher education systems, as well as our health care system and larger economy.
 
That’s why, ensuring the integrity and continuity of landmark reforms and public education funding realized in House Bill 3 (2019) is even more critical today. We must also prioritize our state’s investment in high-quality, high-speed broadband connectivity across the state, an issue with greater urgency in light of the ongoing pandemic.
 
Our data, research and advocacy efforts are driven by three core policy work groups, each focused on essential elements of our state’s public education system. These priorities are even more important in light of the challenges COVID-19 has placed on our education system, our students and our teachers.
 
Early Grade Success 
Texas philanthropy knows the value of high-quality early childhood education as evidenced by decades of philanthropic investment in ages zero to eight. Overwhelming research indicates full-day, high-quality pre-K paves the way for student success by improving school readiness and early grade achievement. A focus on early grade success is even more critical in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts are predicting a significant “academic slide,” in particular for young English Learner (EL) and low-income students. English Learners have always made up a significant portion of the Texas public school population. Texas schools educate the greatest proportion of English Learners in the U.S., including 28 percent of the state’s pre-k through 3rd grade enrollment.
 
Effective Teaching 
Texas must recruit and train diverse and high-achieving teacher candidates into quality educator preparation programs to meet the growing needs of our student population. Teachers are uniquely qualified to understand and re-envision how schools can best serve children. Through research on teacher preparation and with an additional focus on the impacts of COVID-19, our effective teaching legislative agenda focuses on professional needs generally with an emphasis on the short-term and long-term impact of COVID-19 on effective teaching.
 
Pathways to College and Career
In Texas, just over 20 percent of 8th graders go on to complete a post-secondary credential within six years of high school graduation, leaving the Texas workforce in demand for high-skilled labor. Creating opportunities for multiple pathways to marketable skills, degrees and industry-recognized credentials supports students, while bolstering our state’s economy, competitiveness and workforce needs. We should continue to examine and address obstacles for students transferring from community college to a four-year institution, as well as examine the impact of COVID-19 on this student population. 
 
We must confront the immediate challenges facing our state’s public education and higher education systems in the age of COVID-19 and recommit to our state’s public education system for the long haul. The same broad-based, bipartisan spirit that led to school finance and education reforms just two years ago should be embraced during this most challenging legislative session.
 
It’s time to restart and reimagine education, and Texas philanthropy is ready to stand with state leaders to help make it happen.

Read our 2021 Philanthropy Advocates Policy Recommendations.

Philanthropy Advocates was formerly known as the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) until August 2020. Previously-created resources, documents and blog posts mentioning TEGAC are still provided on this website for your reference.

January 14, 2017

Groups Push Texas Legislature to Fund Full-Day Pre-K

El Paso Herald Post


Children’s advocates are aiming to convince the Texas Legislature to fund all-day pre-kindergarten classes in the 2018-2019 budget and beyond.

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January 13, 2017

RGV participation in HB 4 Texas Pre-k Grant Program is analyzed

Rio Grande Guardian


An analysis of Rio Grande Valley participation in the Texas High-Quality Pre-K HB 4 Grant Program has been made by the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas and other education groups.

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December 23, 2016

More money, certainty needed to upgrade pre-K, study finds

Texas Tribune


Most school districts in Dallas County took advantage of a new state grant program to bolster early education programs, but limited funds produced limited results.

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December 12, 2016

For every $1 spent on preschool, we see a benefit of more than $6, Nobel Prize-winning economist finds

Dallas Morning News


His research concludes that investing in preschool is worth the cost, with boys seeing the biggest benefits.

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December 5, 2016

Guest View: Quality pre-K needs sustained funding, commitment

Dallas Morning News


Lawmakers added $118 million in emergency grants to improve prekindergarten.

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November 30, 2016

Quality pre-K works but needs sustained funding and commitment

Dallas Morning News Editorial


One-time grants provided in HB4 were a good first step. But lawmakers need to make a longer-term investment to really move the needle on achievement for more Texas children.

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August 16, 2016

Pre-K program funds rolling out

KVUE


As the school year begins, many districts will benefit from an expansion of high quality pre-Kindergarten championed by Gov. Greg Abbott last session.

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July 14, 2016

Abbott’s Pre-K ‘Gold Standard’ is Showing Some Rust

Texas Observer


On the campaign trail, Greg Abbott pledged an extra $1,500 a year for each pre-K student. But schools will actually see just $367 per child.

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July 5, 2016

Texas Announces Hundreds of Schools Receiving Pre-K Grants

Texas Tribune


The state will divvy up $116 million among 578 school districts and charters to bolster high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, Education Commissioner Mike Morath announced Tuesday.

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June 24, 2016

My Family’s Foundation Entered the Policy Arena, and We Are Not Looking Back

Exponent Philanthropy


Like many family foundations, we receive several worthy requests that we turn down due to lack of funds.

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April 1, 2016

Principles For Effective Education Grantmaking, Joining Forces: How the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium is Engaging Funders in Education Policy

Grantmakers for Education


Joining Forces: How the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium is Engaging Funders in Education Policy

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February 6, 2016

Texas Education Grantmakers partner with Texans Care for Children for initial assessment of school district demand for new pre-k grants

Children's Care for Children


The Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) is pleased to announce it is awarding a grant in the amount of $90,000 to Texans Care for Children...

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