Early Matters Dallas (EMD) is a broad-based coalition dedicated to working together to raise awareness about the importance of quality early education, coordinate advocacy efforts, and increase funding for quality early learning to ultimately ensure a strong workforce of tomorrow. The goal of EMD is to increase Kindergarten Readiness to 80% by 2025 (from 57% in 2014) and 3rd grade literacy to 60% by 2025 (from 34% in 2015) across Dallas County. To reach these goals EMD has developed an action plan, with the input of more than 70 early childhood experts, to guide efforts across the County from birth to 3rd grade. Furthermore, contributing indicators will be tracked annually to measure progress.

The Early Matters Dallas Policy Group provided substantial input to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on the rules implementing the HB4 high quality Pre-K grant. This group is beginning to prioritize legislative initiatives and will have a joint meeting with the Early Matters Houston policy group in May to begin aligning on legislative priorities for the 2017 session. Early Matters Dallas and Early Matters Houston will jointly represent 1 in 4 students in Texas this legislative session.

In addition to aligning advocacy agendas, a key priority for EMD moving forward is to develop an online mapping tool to serve as central platform for data on and services for young children and their families. This will be released in Q2 2016.

To learn more about why early childhood matters, check out the recently released infographics or read this editorial in the Dallas Morning News written by EMD Governing Board members Peter Beck and Clint McDonnough. If you’d like to get involved with Early Matters Dallas, please sign up here or email questions to info@earlymattersdallas.org.