Rice expert available to discuss quality of pre-K in Houston

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations


David Ruth

Amy McCaig

Rice expert available to discuss quality of pre-K in Houston

HOUSTON — (Oct. 31, 2017) — As children across Houston settle into the 2017-2018 school year, a Rice researcher is available to discuss the quality of pre-K programs in Houston.

School books and an apple. Photo credit: Pexels.comErin Baumgartner, a researcher for the Houston Education Research Consortium, part of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research and School of Social Sciences, is the author of two new research briefs on pre-K in Houston. The research is available online and is the subject of a new post in the Kinder Institute’s Urban Edge blog, http://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu/.

Baumgartner looked at nine specific quality benchmarks, including whether teachers had special training in early childhood education, if the maximum class size was 20 students or fewer and what the student-to-staff ratio was. She found that none of the 50 HISD campuses included in the study met all nine of the quality benchmarks. The average pre-K program in the study met roughly 5.2 of the nine quality benchmarks.

Black and white students tended to be enrolled in programs with more quality benchmarks than their Hispanic and Asian peers, according to the study, which used data from the 2015-2016 school year. Low-income students were also more likely to be enrolled in those programs with six or more quality benchmarks than their peers, suggesting a partly promising story, she said.

Baumgartner also found that English-language learners fared less well than other students.

“Students with limited English proficiency were more likely to be enrolled in the lowest-quality programs — those with just three of fewer benchmarks — and less likely to be enrolled in programs with six or more benchmarks than their peers,” she said.

“If the quality of programs was similar across schools, there would be fewer observed differences in both the number of benchmarks reached across programs and the characteristics of students who attend these programs,” Baumgartner said.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Baumgartner, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or amym@rice.edu.

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.


This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related materials:

HERC website: http://kinder.rice.edu/herc/

Link to Urban Edge blog: http://urbanedge.blogs.rice.edu/

Photo link:

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

If you do not wish to receive news releases from Rice University, reply to this email and write “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Office of News and Media Relations – MS 300, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.