Building Entrepreneurship on the Backs of Toddlers Gets All Kinds of Notice

Categories: Education
It turns out Susan Landry, head of the State Center for Early Childhood Development, who has recently received a lot of publicity throughout Texas because the pre-K program she runs is said to be three times as expensive as the usual pre-school program, was recognized last year by the University of Texas for her entrepreneurial skills.

Landry and the Center run what’s called TEEM (Texas Early Education Model) out of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. TEEM purports to establish a regimen for how pre-K ought to be operated throughout the state, but has met resistance from some already-established pre-K programs in the Houston area that don’t agree with all its methods and think they are doing fine, thank you very much.

In 2007, Landry was named one of the 2007 University of Texas System’s Award Nominees in the chancellor’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards Program. UT cited Landry for “improving school readiness; increasing access to quality childcare.”

Again, not everyone agrees on exactly what Landry and the center have been about.

Critics say the center took in about half a million dollars in royalties from businesses that sell their products to be used in TEEM classrooms. Sounds win-win to us. The companies have a wonderful chance to try out their marketing and product testing on a perfect little focus group and TEEM supplements its income.

On Thursday, the subject of where the state needs to go next with its pre-K efforts is due to come up in a Texas Education Agency hearing in Austin. Should be fun.

Margaret Downing

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