Focus at Four: Preschool remains underfunded in Texas

KBTX First News at Four EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 4:39 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - State funded preschool continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas.

The state mirrored national trends in early education across the country as preschool access remained below pre-pandemic levels, funding was inadequate, and quality standards failed to improve, according to the 2022 State of Preschool Yearbook, released by Rutgers University’s National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).

Key findings from the annual survey, which focused on the 2021-2022 school year, are summarized below for Texas:

  • Enrollment in state-funded preschool was 222,424, an increase of 26,203;
  • State spending for preschool programs was $871,371,254, including $24,680,790 in federal pandemic relief funding, an increase of $122,950,371 (inflation adjusted);
  • State spending per child enrolled in preschool was $4,267;
  • Texas met 4 of 10 quality standards benchmarks;
  • Texas has not committed to universal preschool for four-year-olds;
  • Texas did not provide incentives for preschool teacher retention or recruitment.


  • Enrollment at age 4: 10th (47%)
  • Enrollment at age 3: 14th (9%)
  • State spending per child: 32nd ($4,267)
  • All-reported spending per child: 37th ($4,971)