The Boston Consulting Group’s involvement with the Dallas Independent School District began in 2013, when BCG’s Dallas office was asked
to develop an early childhood education strategy. Since then, BCG has
partnered with DISD directly and the firm is now in the middle of a multi-year partnership to support the implementation of its strategy to improve
early childhood education.
The importance of early
childhood education is well
documented. Studies show that
children not reading at grade
level by third grade are four
times more likely not to have a high
school degree by age 19.
Meanwhile, studies of high-quality
early education show that low-income
students who complete such programs are
more likely to graduate high school and
have greater lifetime earnings than their
peers who do not.
As a result, there is increasing consensus on the need to develop and invest in
early childhood programs. What’s less
known, however, is how to do this effectively. In 2012, this issue was top of mind
for a consortium of stakeholders in Dallas,
including DISD community organizations,
and local businesses and foundations.
They formed a group called Commit!
Partnership, an organization focused on
improving educational outcomes for stu-
dents “from cradle to career.”
BCG’s involvement began in 2013,
when Commit! approached the firm’s Dal-
las office to develop an early childhood
education strategy for the group’s birth-to-
third-grade team, says J. Puckett, Global
Leader of BCG’s Education practice and a
Dallas-based Senior Partner.
In 2014, BCG helped develop the dis-
trict’s early childhood strategy with the
goal of maximizing the number of kinder-
garten-ready children through four fun-
damental levers: increasing pre-K access
for 3- and 4-year-olds, boosting parental
interest in pre-K, improving pre-K qual-
ity, and extending the continuum of care
via support agencies that increase parental
education, he says.
“There were a lot of young children,
ages 3 and 4 that were not in any formal
schooling program at all,” Puckett says.
“We know if you get an early start with
the kids in schooling, you’re not spend-
ing all of your time, effort and money on
remediation. Getting people off on the
right trajectory from the start is such a
big key to success.”
The early results have been promising,
he says, with substantial impact on both
access rates and quality. Student enroll-
ment in pre-K rose more than 10 percent
in just two years, while DISD students
deemed kindergarten-ready jumped from
38 percent to 51 percent.
“Someone who shows up kindergar-
ten ready is three times more likely to be
reading on grade level by the third grade,”
Puckett says. “So, we’re hoping that these
Pre-K kids we’re focusing on now will
drive those numbers up by the time they
hit third grade.”
Puckett says it’s been fantastic from his
perspective to see the results first hand.
“I lead our Global Education Practice
but whenever I get to watch this type of
impact we’re having in our own hometown, it’s special,” he says. “It really