Advocacy group for early childhood education formed

Early Matters to focus on economic, social impact in early childhood programs

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio leaders Monday announced the formation of Early Matters San Antonio, an advocacy group for early childhood education.

According to a news release, Early Matters San Antonio brings together business, civic, education, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders to raise awareness about the link between investments in high quality early education and a strong economic future for San Antonio. 

"The formation of this Early Matters chapter was sparked by conversation about the importance of early education at the 2018 Regional Public PK-12 Education Forum," said Pre-K 4 SA CEO Sarah Baray. "Early Matters San Antonio will keep the conversation going as we continue to lead the way in achieving strong education outcomes for our youngest learners."

Co-chaired by former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus and HOLT CAT CEO Peter J. Holt, the Early Matters San Antonio Steering Committee is comprised of civic leaders with diverse backgrounds and a passion for education, including Dr. Shari Albright, Craig Boyan, Dr. William Henrich, Elaine Mendoza, Harvey Najim, David Robinson, Sheryl Sculley, Rad Weaver, Tullos Wells and David Zachry. 

"Research has shown that education is our single greatest economic development tool leading to future success and exponential returns, not just for San Antonio but for Texas," Straus said. "Texas is growing twice as fast of the rest of the country and our economic engine is dependent on our ability to produce a large and diverse pool of well-educated workers."

Early Matters will keep San Antonio at the forefront of early education, allowing leaders to learn from communities around the country that have taken a more systematic and comprehensive approach to the well-being of children from birth to age 8, officials said. 

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The Early Matters steering committee will aim to identify specific gaps in San Antonio's early childhood landscape and to create a sustainable system and structure to address those gaps. The committee, which will convene from September 2019 through May 2020, will consider three main charges during its inaugural year: sustaining and expanding access to high-quality pre-K programs; evaluating other best-practice approaches to the well-being of children from birth to age 8; and determining whether Early Matters San Antonio should continue as a standalone organization moving forward or fall under the umbrella of an existing organization.

Early Matters programs currently exist in other Texas cities, including Austin, Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth. 

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