from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gabe Valenzuela
(512) 463-0121
March 30, 2005

Senate Passes Senator Zaffirini's Early Child Education Bill

(AUSTIN) -- The Texas Senate on Wednesday (March 30) passed Senate Bill 23 authored by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, aimed at expanding early childhood education programs. The bill builds on her SB 76 (2003), which promoted coordination and integration among early child care and education programs for three- and four-year olds, namely, subsidized child care, prekindergarten, and Head Start and Early Head Start.

"Research shows that quality child care can help a child's development in a range of areas, including language, social skills, relationships with teachers and peers, self-perception and ultimately school-readiness," said Senator Zaffirini, a member of the Senate Education Committee. "Many working parents rely on these child care programs, and children rely on them to prepare for future success in school."

In 2004 the State Center for Early Childhood Development issued a report as required by SB 76. Several of its recommendations are included in SB 23, including the development of the School Readiness Certification System and developing uniform eligibility criteria for the integration projects.

"Quality child care programs provide a positive long-term economic development impact by allowing parents to re-enter the workforce with the knowledge that their children are prepared for school," Senator Zaffirini said. "It is critical that this successful integration model be continued because it expands quality, research-based early childhood education services."

The bill must be passed by the House of Representative before it can be sent to Governor Rick Perry for final approval. The continued progress of this and all bills authored by Senator Zaffirini can be monitored via the internet at www.zaffirini.senate.state.tx.us or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library's toll free instate hotline, 1-877-824-7038.

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