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Texas Educators In San Antonio To Soak Up Pre-K Ideas

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Eileen Pace

Educators attending the Texas Early Learning Innovation Summit at UTSA today seemed eager to gather information from San Antonio to take back to their own communities.

Pre-K 4  SA is making strides on its facilities, staffing, and curriculum, and although San Antonio initiated the program through a sales tax, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Walter Dansby said residents there may be looking for another way to fund a program.

"Fort Worth, years ago with their sales tax, invested in our community as well," Dansby said. "They did it through our after-school programs. So this is just another way, but we’re looking for resources that can affect the early childhood programs, especially our 3 and 4 year olds."

Most of the Texas educators that attended the summit are interested in funding.

Mayor Julián Castro opened the summit with his expectation for success for Pre-K 4 SA. He said the city has three objectives: To get it right, to convince state lawmakers to take a more studied view of the value of early education, and to bring in private funding.

Castro said not every community can raise funding in the same way:

"That’s why it can’t just be at the local level that we address it. That’s why we need everyone involved. We need Austin involved. President Obama is making his push for universal pre-K, and we need our foundations and our private sector involved as well," Castro said.

Castro said San Antonio’s program borrowed elements from other programs around the country, but believes this program will become  a model for the rest of the nation.