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      Abbott announces plan to focus on early education

      Gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Greg Abbott paid a visit to the Rio Grande Valley this afternoon.

      Action 4 was there as Abbott stopped by Sam Houston Elementary school in Weslaco.

      Just a few hours ago, Greg Abbott announced his Educating Texans Plan, which focuses on early education specifically pre-K to third grade.

      He said Texas is number one in the nation in many categories like creating jobs, producing energy and even exports.

      However, Abbott said it is now time for Texas to set its sights on being number one in education.

      "We can and we will build the very best education system in America and it starts today, and it starts at pre-K and K in places like Weslaco, Texas," said Abbott.

      Excited children filled the halls of Sam Houston Elementary School Monday afternoon.

      Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is emphasizing importance of educating our youth.

      He said the earlier the better, and called pre-K to third grade, the foundation for academic development.

      "If a student falls behind in reading after the 3rd grade, they are far more likely to need academic intervention for many more years during their academic career," stated Abbott.

      Which would make those students four times more likely to drop out of high school, he said.

      Abbott's plan is to have the state invest in professional development for teachers grades K through third grade to make sure students are building strong math and reading skills. His plan outlined recommendations on how to implement a high quality curriculum at the pre-K level.

      "We will give school flexibility to achieve those high standards allowing them to be the laboratories for educational innovation," said Abbott.

      First, educators must have a Child Development Associates credential in addition to a Bachelor TMs Degree. Second, increase parent participation through conferences.

      Lastly, measure student progress and make results available to teachers, districts, parents and the state.

      So that taxpayers can see their dollars at work.

      Abbott said it TMs all about focusing on the success of our future generations.

      "The time has come for Texas to set its sights on being number one in the nation for educating our children," said Abbott.

      Abbott hopes that by 2025, Texas will see the number of student scoring satisfactory or better on statewide third grade assessments double over the current levels. He said this is just one of four parts of his ~Educating Texas TM plan and there is more to come in the near future.