A groundbreaking effort to prepare Texas preschoolers for kindergarten has eaten up millions of taxpayer dollars but has yet to deliver on the investment, according to a new report released by the Texas Education Agency.
The findings spotlight a lack of budget transparency, little accountability and a lot of administrative overhead in the Texas Early Education Model, or TEEM, a state program run out of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
The program “operates in a netherworld of state finance” far removed from TEA oversight, according to the report by Edvance Research Inc., a San Antonio consulting firm.
State officials have pumped more than $45 million into the program since 2003. Yet the report found no proof that most children fared better in TEEM than in conventional preschool programs.
“I thought those were pretty damning conclusions,” said Samuel Meisels, a critic who runs the Erikson Institute, a Chicago graduate school that specializes in early-childhood development.