Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Texas Workforce Commission Apprenticeship Program (RAP) Workforce Apprenticeships

Part of Federal Registered Apprenticeship Program

In June 2022, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced a new child care apprenticeship program to address a workforce shortage in the industry. To build a pipeline of skilled teachers, the TWC was awarded three grants totaling $793,401 to create two new early childhood apprenticeship programs and expand one existing program. The grants expand the Camp Fire First Texas program in Tarrant County, create a new program at Dallas College, and create another new program at the Heart of Texas Workforce Development Board, Inc. in Waco. The apprenticeship programs train teachers while offering full-time and paid positions. The grants also assist apprentices who have completed the Registered Apprenticeship Program by transferring their completion certificate into college credit hours, putting them within three to five classes of earning an associate degree.

Learn More: Texas Workforce Commission


Texas Workforce Commission. (n.d.). Child Care & Early Learning Services - Program Overview.

Texas Workforce Commission. (2022). TWC Awards Grants to Develop Child Care Apprenticeship Programs.

Texas Student Data System Infrastructure Systems Data Systems

P-20 Longitudinal Data System

The Texas Education Agency’s Texas Student Data Systems hosts the states’ P-20 longitudinal data system, which includes early childhood data (e.g., public/private pre-K data, assessment results, and staff) since 2019 in addition to other raw and aggregate data from the Public Education Information Management System. The system functions as a central data warehouse and links collections of data across agencies, including data submitted to the reporting tool, the Early Childhood Data System. The system links demographic, program, and individual data spanning childhood education, K-12, higher education, and workforce. The individual data is deidentified with a unique identifier. Data is available internally for agencies and authorized users.

The Texas Student Data System has been in development since the early 2000s (S.B. 1 (2002-2003) ),but has included early childhood data only since 2019. The system is largely funded by federal grants and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

Learn More: Texas Student Data System

Texas Student Data System (n.d.). Infographic.
Texas Public Education Information Resource. (n.d.). TPEIR Home Page.
Texas Education Agency. (n.d.). Early Childhood Data Collection Requirements.
The State of Texas. (2003). Text of Conference Committee Report Senate Bill No. 1 (General Appropriations Act).

Sales Tax for Pre-K for SA Dedicated Funding Streams Sales Tax

Tax raises approximately $36 million annually to support pre-K

In 2009, in an initiative called "SA 2020," Mayor Julián Castro asked San Antonio residents to consider what they wanted their community to look like in 10 years. To consider where the city should put its resources to achieve their collective vision, Castro established the Brainpower Initiative Task Force, composed of business and community leaders and scholars. This task force recommended that the city fund high-quality prekindergarten for children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

In 2012, 54% of San Antonio voters approved a referendum to fund Pre-K for SA through a one-eighth-cent sales tax. Annually, the tax raises $36 million for preschool funding each year.

Learn More: Pre-K 4 SA
Texas Public School Prekindergarten Expansion Targeted Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)

Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 47%
Percentage of 3-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 9%
Minimum hours of operation: 32,400 minutes/year; 5 days/week 

Texas’s targeted public pre-K program serves 47% of the state's population of 4-year-olds. To be eligible, children must meet one of a short list of criteria meant to identify and support children experiencing risk factors. Public School Prekindergarten is administered by the Texas Education Administration’s Early Childhood Division and is offered in a combination of public and private settings. Additionally, the State’s House Bill 3, signed into law in June 2019, requires that “all prekindergarten programs offered to eligible four-year-old students be full-day, and meet the high-quality requirements adopted by the legislature in 2015” (TEA, 2022). Texas continued its expansion efforts by launching the Child Care Expansion Initiative in May 2022, which is run by the Texas Workforce Commission. The initiative helps programs open a new location, increase capacity by adding slots, or convert existing slots to infant slots.

Learn More: Texas Workforce Commission Child Care Provider Expansion Initiative

National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). Texas.
Texas Education Agency. (n.d.). Prekindergarten Registration and Enrollment.
Texas Education Agency. (n.d.). Prekindergarten Program FAQ.

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Demographics Link copied!

State population

30,029,572 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

16.3% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

83.7% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

1,905,442 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

43% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$76,600.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

3.9% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

5% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force

62% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

32% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

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Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (.5%)
  • Asian (5%)
  • Black or African American (12%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (49%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (.5%)
  • Two or More Races (3%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (31%)
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Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

Texas Public School Prekindergarten Program Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (3- and 4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

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Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (9%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (8%)
  • Other/none (83%)
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Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Program Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (47%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (6%)
  • Other/none (47%)
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Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
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Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($676.3)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($866.5)
  • CCDBG State Match ($79.1)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($5900)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($1000)
  • MIECHV ($19.4)
  • IDEA Part C ($65.6)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($374)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($339.2)
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Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 305,000 children in Texas.