Consortium’s Research and Policy Recommendations 2015

The Consortium focuses on ensuring that education grantmakers are a resource to policymakers around public education policy with good data about what works in public education to ensure every child has access to a quality education.  In 2014, the Consortium produced three research reports addressing some of the state’s most pressing and important educational debates.  In partnership with the Bush School at Texas A&M University, the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at the University of Texas at Austin, and Children at Risk, the Consortium provided the following policy recommendations for consideration during the 2015 Texas Legislative Session:

1. Pre-Kindergarten Policy Recommendations: 

  • Ensure transparency of prekindergarten assessments and program quality by increasing data available to taxpayers, parents, educators and policy makers about pre-kindergarten programs.
  • Expand funding to school districts that limit staff-to-student ratios by requiring new funding for pre-kindergarten to be contingent upon the implementation of a staff-to-student ratio of 1:10.
  • Create incentives for school districts to offer full-day pre-kindergarten by providing additional funding through the school funding formula or by establishing a sustainable grant program for districts wishing to expand to full-day.
  Click here for Pre-K Talking Points

2. House Bill 5 Implementation Policy Recommendations: 

  • Reduce time spent on administration of standardized tests to increase the time counselors have to perform the work they were hired to do. 
  • Provide counseling technology capacity building grants to allow high schools to partner with colleges, universities, and private vendors to develop and implement the technological tools to improve counseling efficiency.
  • Enhance current data collection systems to ensure that House Bill 5 can be appropriately evaluated.
  • Provide funding to school districts to increase the number of their counselors, to provide funding credit to colleges and universities who provide on-site college and career preparation services to non-dual credit high school students, and to take Advise Texas to scale.  
  • Specifically encourage school districts to create an 8th to 9th grade counselor position for each middle school to serve as a coordinator for graduating 8th grade students.
  • Assist counselors to understand and use existing tools to evaluate local labor market demand.
  • Encourage connections between local workforce development boards and high school campuses.
  Click here for HB 5 Talking Points

3. Engaging Businesses Around Out of School Time Policy Recommendations: 

  • Establish regional or statewide coordinators to: (1) build a database of best practice models; (2) disseminate information and education about programs to working parents and companies; (3) lead the program evaluation process; (4) build new networks of stakeholders through provision of networking events across local communities and regions.
  • Establish a statewide grant competition to incentivize cross-sector collaborations between a broader range of private and public stakeholders, to support innovative afterschool or summer programming.
  • Create a workforce award (e.g. through Workforce Commission) for those companies leading in implementation of most family-friendly workforce/workplace policies
  Click here for ELO Talking Points