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In This Issue:
Texas Schools Project will kick off its 2009-2010 Seminar Series with Jim VanOverschelde presenting, "The State of English Language Learners in Texas."
Friday, August 21
Jim is well-known in Texas education research. As the director of Educational Research and Policy for Texas Education Agency's Office of Statewide Policy and Programs, his department conducts education research to inform state and agency policy. Their current research focuses on understanding the current state of English-language learners in Texas.
Mark your calendar to attend this fascinating presentation. For future planning, these seminars will occur the third Friday of each month. Invitations will be sent monthly.
Questions? Contact Kristin Klopfenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972.883.2379.
Texas Schools Project (TSP) is partnering with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research to perform a national study of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) in five large, urban school districts: Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; and Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Nidhi Mehrotra of TSP will be responsible for two of these sites, Dallas Independent School District, starting in year one of the study, and Austin Independent School District, starting in year two.
The study is multi-dimensional, engaging in the analysis of various facets of SES. A primary focus will be to investigate what type of impact SES has on student achievement. Additionally, researchers will evaluate what types of SES programs are most successful in delivering positive student achievement outcomes. They will also look at whether students who are in most need of SES are in fact participating in SES programs offered, what factors are influential in parent and student choices regarding SES participation, and what opportunities are available to state and local educational agencies to increase the effectiveness of SES programs.
“Low-income and disadvantaged students are disproportionately represented in schools that have been identified for improvement under NCLB, and thus, they also may have the most to gain if the effectiveness of SES can be improved through additional research,” said Carolyn Heinrich, director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and principal investigator of the study.
The study, which begins this fall, will take place over four years. It is being funded by The Institute for Educational Sciences, a division of the U.S. Department of Education. TSP’s portion of the grant is approximately $570,000.
Jim Parsons, founding member of the Joint Advisory Board and former Humble ISD Executive Director of Accountability, has joined Texas Schools Project (TSP) as its Assistant Director.
Carla Stevens, Assistant Superintendent, Office of Research and Accountability for Houston ISD, was also a founding member of the JAB with Parsons. She commented, “As a fellow Joint Advisory Board member I have valued Jim’s input and experience, especially as we have reviewed research proposals and set policy for the Board.” She continued, “I know he is very well-respected from a state level and will be quite an asset in his new position.”
Parsons expects TSP to experience significant growth in the coming years. He explained, “There is a broad hunger for answers to questions about how to improve our public education system. While that’s not new, what is new is that many of those asking the questions will not be satisfied with the old answers. The big foundations, active in public education reform, are more business-based than politically-based. Even the U.S. Department of Education approach is becoming more business than bureaucrat. Program evaluations that quantify effectiveness are in high demand. If a program doesn’t reach the goal, or a less expensive program does the same job, an enterprise approach takes notice. As this approach to public education gains ground, politicians get the message, and bureaucrats respond accordingly.”
Parsons feels this change is the catalyst for educational research and evaluation. He remarked, “This change enhances opportunities for solid, scientifically based program evaluation. Relevant academic research can be applied to improve evaluation. Both can inform theory and practice. TSP is poised to take advantage of this new world of public education.”
Dan O'Brien, TSP Director, and Jim Parsons, TSP Assistant Director, presented "Enhancing Usability of Longitudinal Data - UTD-ERC Model" at the STATS-DC Conference in Washington, D.C. in late July.
The Conference, held in conjunction with the National Forum on Education Statistics' summer meeting, provided updates on federal and national activities affecting data collection and reporting and information about the best new approaches in collecting, reporting, and using education statistics.
"Effectively using longitudinal data is a key priority for education research," commented Dan O'Brien. "Jim and I were glad to be part of this important conference, focused on improving the quality, comparability, and usefulness of elementary and secondary education data."
The University of Texas at Dallas Education Research Center (UTD-ERC), part of Texas Schools Project, houses a wealth of data provided by the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and State Board for Educator Certification.
A complete listing of current data available can be found on our website under Data Holdings.
Information on accessing this data can be found on our website under Access.
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