Greetings!  The Texas Center for Education Policy (TCEP) has been in existence since Spring 2006.  A central purpose of the center is to bring researchers together whose work has a direct bearing on policy issues of the day and to in turn bring them together with larger stakeholder education communities statewide.  We have accomplished this through policy brown bags, educational convenings, and conferences.  Among other areas of policy, TCEP has provided expertise in the areas of high-stakes, standardized testing, assessment, and school accountability.

Most recently on February 9, 2011, TCEP with the Division of Campus and Community Engagement, and Aztec Worldwide, Inc. sponsored a highly successful statewide conference titled, “Leading the Nation:  A Texas Retrospective on Educational Reform.”  Please see the attached conference agenda to see our featured speakers.  A conference highlight was honoring the legacy of Oscar and Anne Mauzy through a legislative awards ceremony that gave us a chance to celebrate key legislators’ contributions to education, race, gender, and a better society.  TCEP has been fortunate to benefit from a generous endowment that the Mauzy’s created for TCEP and that has sustained the work of the Center.

This conference considered, on the one hand, the important role that research can and should play in the development of helpful policies.  In particular, scholars offered a reflection on between 10 and 25 years of educational outcomes and reform in Texas.  On the other, it gave a diverse statewide audience the opportunity to hear from key formerly elected officials like Representative Paul Sadler, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Education, as well as an opportunity to address current issues in education with a panel discussion by Senator Florence Shapiro, Representative Rob Eissler, and former Representative Paul Sadler.  What this conference therefore provided was a broad overview of our educational system, together with emerging policies.

In part through the critical work of TCEP, various commentators acknowledged a significant shift in Texas education policy.  Specifically, since the last legislative session, Texas has eliminated its reliance on high-stakes tests as the sole criterion for decisions pertaining to grade promotion and retention for third-grade children.  These decisions will now be based on such factors as grades, attendance, classroom performance, teacher assessment, parent input, and test performance.  This monumental shift positively affects over 300,000 third graders in Texas public schools this year.  Former Representative Dora Olivo carried this legislation since 2001.

Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.
Director of the Texas Center for Education Policy
Associate Vice President for School Partnerships
Division of Campus and Community Engagement