Planning for Waste and Inefficiency? - Texas Scorecard

A report issued by the Texas Education Agency says the premier pre-Kindergarten program in Texas is a waste of money, has failed to accomplish its goals, and has too little oversight. So what is the TEA’s response to the Dallas Morning News? The program has met the agency’s expectations. Is that supposed to be humorously ironic, or fiscally scary?

No one should be laughing. More than $45 million taxpayer dollars have been tossed into the Texas Early Education Model, but so far there is no evidence its actually doing much more than waste the taxpayers’ money. The head of the program, Dr. Susan Landry, told the Morning News that the report just didn’t look at the right things. “But there were other things that could have been looked at.” She oversees the program as the director of the Texas State Center for Early Childhood Development.

“Presently, the State Center is not transparent, expenditures and performance are not recapitulated for policymakers, and a key and growing public school program is being operated not out of the Texas Education Agency but a medical school in Houston,” the report’s authors wrote, as quoted in the DMN.

That would seem to cover it all. Here are a couple more jewels that the newspaper reported:
• Dr. Landry’s group reported expenses in vague detail.
• About 40 percent of the state program’s budget appeared to go to salaries, benefits, travel and other expenses.
• The program’s system of collecting cost and student records was somewhat incomplete and lacked uniformity.

During the last legislative session there was a big push for “universal” Pre-K, which would force parents to send their 4-year-olds to competent, educationally-enriching programs like this one.

What a great idea… except for the kids and the taxpayers.