News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2007
Contact:Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121

Senate Education Committee Approves SB 50 by Zaffirini to Expand the Texas Early Education Model

(AUSTIN) -- The Senate Education Committee today (Thursday) recommended passage of Senate Bill 50 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would expand Texas Early Education Model (TEEM) sites throughout Texas; increase the quality of educator training; raise reimbursement rates for child care providers; and improve the recruitment, retention, and quality of early childhood education professionals.

"Since my election to the Senate in 1986, it has been my pleasure to champion legislation and funding to support early childhood education programs in Texas," Senator Zaffirini said. "With each child we enroll in quality early childhood education programs, we make a wise and beneficial investment for the state's future. SB 50 would expand TEEM sites and increase access to child care by improving child-care provider training and career incentives."

SB 50 would enhance the quality of early childhood learning programs by establishing partnerships between child care centers and institutions of higher education across Texas and by improving training opportunities for early childhood education professionals.

What's more, SB 50 would establish the Texas Advisory Council on Early Care and Education Career Development to evaluate changes made by this bill and make additional recommendations to improve early childhood education professional development opportunities.

SB 50 builds on the success of Senator Zaffirini's SB 76 (2003), which established TEEM and SB 23 (2005), which provided significant funding for TEEM. During the 2005 legislative session Senator Zaffirini championed efforts to invest $250 million in pre-kindergarten. This funding included $50 million for the Texas Workforce Commission; $185 million for the pre-kindergarten Early Start Grant Program; and $15 million for the Early Childhood School Readiness Program, which was implemented by the State Center for Early Childhood Development at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

"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. "What's more, the value added to our communities from Texas children receiving a quality pre-kindergarten education will provide our state with remarkable benefits for years to come."

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