Why 0-5 Education Matters

While students are not legally required to attend school until age 6, Kindergartens, which typically serve 5 year olds, are widely considered the start of public school. In Dallas County, Kindergarten enrollment is 98% of 1st grade enrollment.

However, national movement to enroll students in school at a younger age is gaining ground given emerging benefits of earlier instruction/intervention. 80% of states offer some commitment to public pre-K for 4 year olds though uptake varies.

The longer society waits to intervene in the life cycle of a disadvantaged child, the more costly it is to remediate disadvantage. As a child grows, the cost to intervene increases and our ability to remediate decreases.

Dallas County Snapshot: 0-5 Education

of brain development happens before age 4
of children currently enter Kindergarten ready
eligible children not accessing free pre-K
in state funding left on the table for public pre-K

Without Early Childhood Intervention, an At-Risk Child Is…

more likely to drop out by 25%
more likely to become a teen parent by 40%
more likely to be placed in special education by 50%
more likely to never attend college by 60%
more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by 70%

Children from low-income families enter Kindergarten at an average of 12-14 months behind their higher-income peers. It is also a little known fact that it takes over 3 months to remediate a child for every 1 month that they are behind. 67% of Dallas County’s population is considered at-risk. The window for intervention is tight: Low-income children reading below grade level at 3rd grade are 6 times less likely to graduate from high school.

Learn What We’re Doing About It

In close collaboration with other districts, community leaders, volunteers and local businesses, the Partnership is working in the following areas: quality, alignment, awareness and access.

0-5 Education Pillars


Essential to children's life-long success is the quality of their early care and education.


The community is collaborating to use data, implement effective practices, and address critical challenges to improve quality, particularly in child care for 3- and 4-year olds.


Coordinating services and strategies across districts to ensure a child's success.


The Partnership provides a forum for like bodies to look at data, identify effective practices and processes, and align on common initiatives to improve children’s Kindergarten Readiness.

The Partnership is working together to help more children get the early start on their education they deserve. Nonprofits, child care providers, school districts, foundations, health care providers, public entities, and many more partners across Dallas County are engaging in outcomes-oriented working groups to address quality, access, awareness, and alignment with the North Star of all children entering Kindergarten school ready.


During the first years of life, a low-income child hears ~30 million fewer words than her more affluent peers


The community is working together to engage parents around meaningfully closing word gaps before the age of 3.


During the year 2012-2013, more than 37,000 economically eligible 3- and 4-year olds did not attend public pre-K.


Building off a successful April 2014 pre-K round-up effort, the community is aligning on campaigns and focused projects to help more children access quality early education.

In Spring 2014, more than 75 partners engaged in a district-wide grass tops and grassroots campaign to increase family awareness around Dallas ISD’s Pre-K Round-Up week; registration is up more than 1,000 students as of August 1. Public/private provider partnerships are growing, districts are collaborating in implementing a common multidimensional Kindergarten Readiness assessment, and the news media is bringing greater attention to the Early Childhood opportunities in the region.

What Collective Impact Looks Like

The Commit! Partnership has developed a multi-pronged structure to engage diverse stakeholders in helping more children arrive at Kindergarten school ready. Commit!’s 30+-member Early Childhood Support Council gives input on county collaborative strategy and facilitates connections. In addition, quarterly broad community convenings are backed by outcomes-oriented working groups.

Initiatives Partner Organizations Have Collaborated On

  • Common School Readiness Assessment
  • County-Wide Pre-K Registration Campaign
  • Parent Engagement and Education

0-5 Education News and Events

  • Panoramic Molina Convening Photo

Molina Early Literacy Network Hits a New Turning Point

The Molina Early Literacy Network, representing 3,300 students, hit a new turning point on October 28 as principals representing the entire feeder pattern—all five elementary schools, the neighborhood middle school, and two high schools—came […]

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Rallying Around Our Children’s Earliest Years

We need to act early to ensure our youngest children are positioned for lifelong success. James Heckman’s research finds a 7-to-1 return on early childhood investment in reduced expenses associated with remediation, unemployment and […]

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Panel on Parent Engagement Hosted by The School Zone

Panelists represent AVANCE, Workforce Solutions Dallas, Dallas ISD, and The Concilio. Event will take place September 23; RSVP here. Need more content so it will take up the whole space. Need more content so […]