The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 provides a unique, holistic perspective on the state of early childhood development and education initiatives in the United States. Today’s generation of babies and toddlers will, one day, become industry leaders and valuable contributors to our national economy. Therefore, it is essential to allocate sufficient funding and develop comprehensive policy in support of initiatives fostering the social, emotional and intellectual development of children.
Unfortunately, many children face hardships from a very early age, with 45% of children living in households earning incomes of less than twice the federal poverty level. Investing in these children during the critical ages of zero to three years mitigates the developmental disparities between low-income children and their peers. To evaluate state progress on a more granular level, leading educational research non-profits ‘ZERO TO THREE’ and ‘Child Trends’ have developed a tiered structure assessing each state’s development of critical early childhood education policies and programs.
Using the acronym “GROW” (Getting Started, Reaching Forward, Improving Outcomes, and Working Effectively), each state is identified and ordered from lowest to highest performing. Texas, along with many other states in the southern region, belongs to the class of states “Getting Started” in their efforts to scaffold the intellectual development of low-income children. Corrective actions to improve the quality of early childhood education in Texas are well underway thanks to dedicated leaders and community volunteers who serve as vocal advocates for the littlest among us.
The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is dedicated to providing every child with the resources and support needed to ensure that all children not only have the resources to learn, but also to thrive. Foundation pioneered programs, such as My Home Library and the Big Book Giveaway secure book choice and access opportunities for children receiving little to no exposure to books in the home. Additionally, the Foundation is a key player in the development of an expansive literacy mentor network, where volunteers engage and encourage students to develop a lifelong love of reading with the intention of ensuring that every child reads at or above grade level by third grade.
For the state of Texas to obtain the highest level of performance, it is imperative for our community to be working together and working effectively. Please consider evaluating this groundbreaking report and joining a growing network of individuals eager to serve as champions for our children.