Texas Education Review

Permanent URI for this collectionhttps://hdl.handle.net/2152/44503


The Texas Education Review is an independent, peer reviewed, student-run scholarly publication based at the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin.

From Sweatt v. Painter and No Child Left Behind, to charter schools, curriculum policy, and textbook adoption, the State of Texas has played and will continue to play a critical role in shaping education policy in the United States.

The Texas Education Review (TxEd) is located directly on The University of Texas’s campus in the heart of downtown Austin. Its close proximity to the Texas Capitol, Texas Education Agency, and State Board of Education offers unparalleled access to the thought leaders, policy makers, and academics who are driving education policy in Texas. TxEd focuses on analysis of education policy and related issues, with non-exclusive preference given to issues affecting the State of Texas.

TxEd was founded and is operated by PhD students at The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, which consistently ranks as one of the best public university graduate education programs in the U.S.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 202
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    Dyslexia Identification: Texas Legislative Trends in Prevalence Rate of Students by School District Locale
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Simmons, Michelle; Shin, Mikyung; Hart, Stephanie
    State legislation serves as a guide and critical influence on the evaluation and identification of students with dyslexia across the United States. The state of Texas has numerous laws and regulations concerning dyslexia, guided by the Texas Administrative Code, Texas Education Code, Texas Occupations Code, and the Texas Education Agency’s dyslexia handbook (National Center on Improving Literacy [NCIL], 2021). This article is an analysis of publicly available statewide data to assess the impact federal and state legislative policies have had on the prevalence rate of students with dyslexia in 839 urban and rural school districts in Texas. 839 school districts from the 2016-2017 to 2022-2023 school years were extracted from the Texas Education Agency’s Public Education Information Management System. Researchers focused on the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Corrective Action to the TEA (OSEP, 2018), the TEA state dyslexia handbook revisions (TEA, 2021), and the unique prevalence of rural school districts in Texas (Simmons, Shin & Sharp, 2021). Analysis focused on implications for dyslexia evaluation and identification practices for school districts and evaluators within the state.
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    Towards Congruency? A Descriptive Analysis of Employed Black Teachers in Texas from 2011-12 through 2017-18
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Johnson, Virginia Redwine; Williams, John A. III; Richardson, Micah
    There was a period in U.S. history when Black teachers were heavily employed within the educational workforce and were leading examples of excellence (Anderson, 1988). Black teachers, teaching within their communities, were able to directly impact their students’ achievement and behavior while also reinforcing shared family values. As a result of the ramifications of implementing Brown v. Board of Education and strategies aimed at pushing Black teachers out, there has been a decrease in the presence of Black educators in the United States. This decline caused a ripple effect that is being felt throughout today’s classrooms nationwide. Still, this topic requires more recent investigations of the data to determine if Black teacher attrition is current or a phenomenon of the past. This study examined Texas’ teacher workforce data from the Texas Education Agency, highlighting the teacher demographics and identifying if there was an increase or decrease in Black teachers between 2011 and 2017. From the descriptive analysis, the researchers found that for most campuses based on urbanicity types, there was an increase in the average number of Black female and male teachers on campuses. Although racial congruency between the number of Black students and teachers appears to still be in the distant future, notably, campuses across Texas have implemented measures to draw Black teachers to their campuses.
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    Breaking Barriers and Fostering Neurodiversity Awareness in Primary Education Through Inclusive Children’s Literature
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Amador, Sharon
    Teachers are essential in ensuring children and society are aware of neurodiversity by actively incorporating inclusive children's literature into their classroom activities to promote understanding and acceptance of neurodiverse individuals. Integrating such literature may enhance children’s awareness and acceptance of neurodiverse individuals. Many teachers encounter barriers to promoting neurodiversity awareness through this medium. This paper draws upon Vygotsky's sociocultural theory (1962) to analyze teachers' perceptions and beliefs concerning neurodiversity and their practices for using children's literature to promote neurodiversity awareness. This qualitative research study investigated the barriers teachers face in promoting neurodiversity awareness. Data collection involved semi-structured face-to-face interviews with eight K-2 grade teachers. A thematic analysis was used for interpretation. The findings indicate inadequate teacher knowledge and understanding, lack of collaborative professional development, and limited access to appropriate educational resources are significant barriers to promoting neurodiversity awareness in classroom activities through inclusive children's literature.
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    Tools to Increase Preservice Teacher Confidence While Discussing Controversial Identity Issues
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) van Kessel, Cathryn; Righton, Kelcia; Lester, Lea; Schimel, Jeff; Hussain, Zahra; Lindell, Cassidy
    This collaborative, descriptive research project in urban Texas looked at the at the development, implementation, and student perception of effectiveness of a multi-stage pedagogical intervention in a classroom to help preservice teachers become more confident during discussions of controversial identity issues; specifically, ableism, classism, heterosexism, racism, and sexism. Researchers developed classroom experiences based upon worldview threat and defense as well as mindfulness, using qualitative analytic strategies to “foresee” and “assert” the effectiveness of these experiences via mid- and end-point course evaluation surveys. Participants felt more confident and capable when talking to others with differing worldviews due to the experiences and tools provided.
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    Conocimiento through Spiritual Activism: A Self-Reflexive Approach to Challenging Deficit Beliefs and Reimagining the Value of Teaching in Higher Education
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Cavazos, Alyssa G.
    This testimonio, inspired by Anzaldúa’s (2002) seven stages of conocimiento, is written in second person to highlight a series of counterstories aimed at guiding readers through the challenges of facilitating teaching conversations in higher education where deficit assumptions about students’ potential are prevalent. Readers will gain insight into disparaging and derogatory commentary aimed at silencing voices and the harmful impact these words and behaviors can have on our well-being and students' holistic success in higher education and beyond. Through a journey of empathetic understanding and reciprocal learning, I share guided questions to encourage readers to self-reflect on the need for a shift in how teaching is valued in higher education. Ultimately, I advocate for a call to action that fosters a culture of collaboration and solidarity where student voices are at the center of teaching and learning innovations. Collectively, we can create opportunities where all students can succeed in ways that are meaningful to them while also creating a culture that values instructors’ self-reflection, growth, and self-efficacy in teaching.
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    Co-Learning with Patricia A. Somers: Rising from Humble Beginnings to Become an Academic Leader
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) St. John, Edward P.; Somers, Patricia A.
    In 1990, Patricia A. Somers was a quick-witted and brilliant mid-career student affairs administrator who finally decided to complete a doctorate at the University of New Orleans. Before taking the position at the University of Texas, specializing in research on college access, Pat became an outstanding professor and mentor at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In a short reflective essay, Pat tells her family story of rising from humble beginnings to a career studying access and supporting students starting their careers through doctoral study. After her inspiring message, I reflect on our collaboration over more than three decades as professors in higher education.
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    Hearing Their Stories: A Phenomenological Study in Understanding Ed.D. Completion
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Demchuk, Tracy; Rainey, Liz
    This study illuminates the rich and unique experiences of alumni who successfully completed a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). During two open-ended interview sessions, eight participants revealed the barriers they encountered and successfully navigated to complete their doctoral programs. Some findings align with previously known barriers from extant literature, such as competing demands and academic integration. Participants’ stories also reveal that negative experiences from their habitus and self-sabotaging thoughts created additional factors to their completion. This study describes how these alumni overcame the barriers by using their social capital, relationships with their faculty and chairs, and self-awareness to persist. This study is important because scholarly research has traditionally focused on undergraduate (rather than graduate) persistence, yet, only half of all doctoral students in the United States complete their programs. We discuss implications for graduate student retention research and practice based on eight successful doctoral students.
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    “The Numbers Are There but the Attention is Elsewhere”: An Analysis of The Boyer Report
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) McKinnon-Crowley, Saralyn; Voyles, Aaron
    A 1998 report from the Boyer Commission called “Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America’s Research Universities” issued a series of directives, suggestions, and critiques concerning the then-current state of undergraduate education at research universities. The document caused a minor media firestorm in the higher education and national outlets. This paper will analyze the report, the media responses to the report, and the academic articles inspired by it through the lens of the neoliberal economic models influencing higher education, encapsulated in the titular quote from the report regarding deficits in undergraduate education. We argue that neoliberal concepts infiltrated the discourse surrounding undergraduate education and provide the underpinnings for a value-added perspective on undergraduate education. We describe the historical circumstances influencing the report, conduct a poststructural analysis of the report using the lens of neoliberalism, and reflect upon the impact of the report for contemporary student affairs practitioners and faculty collaboration.
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    A Difference-in-Difference Examination of Tennessee Promise's Influence on Community College Enrollment by Student Adjusted Gross Income
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Hyder, Zachary; Collom, Gresham; Biddix, Patrick
    We utilize a difference-in-difference design to examine the effect of adopting a statewide promise program on the enrollment of community college students across socio-economic status. Limited by a small sample size for treated units, we find inferential evidence that the adoption of a state-wide, last-dollar promise program for community colleges with no merit-based or need-based criteria raised the enrollment of in-state first-time-in-college, full-time students in their first year of college from families that earned between $0 and $75,000 in adjusted gross income. Effect sizes were largest for students from the lowest SES group ($0 to $30,000) approximately 168 additional students enrolled per 2-year institution per year following Tennessee Promise program adoption. Findings controlled for year-to-year variations in unemployment and state price parities. We discuss benefits and concerns regarding scholarships such as the Tennessee Promise that increase enrollment for lower-income students but do not affect the amount of financial aid included in their award packages in practice.
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    Increasing United States College Access for Native Arabic Speakers: Applying a Simplification Intervention and Evaluating Machine and Human Translations
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Taylor, Zachary W.; McCartt, Brett; Babekir, Tahagod
    Across many language backgrounds, a consistent hurdle to accessing United States higher education is understanding the basic information necessary to apply for admission and financial aid and complete the many enrollment management processes necessary to begin one’s college career (apply for housing, receive and submit vaccinations, register for classes, etc.). However, to date, no studies have explored how this type of higher education information can be simplified and translated into Arabic, one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and a linguistic background shared by tens of thousands of prospective international students (and their families) seeking higher education in the United States. This case study reports on research-to-practice work conducted with the University of Iowa, specifically how the university simplified their enrollment management information and how that information was translated into Arabic for native Arabic speakers seeking access to the University of Iowa. Findings reveal that the institution simplified text to speak more directly to prospective student audiences by using second person pronouns and simpler sentence structure and diction to engage this audience. Moreover, analyses of machine and human translations of English to Arabic suggest that human translation should be the preferred mechanism of translating higher education information, as Google Translate and Chat GPT [A1] provided adequate but not perfect translations of Iowa’s information. Implications for practice and college access are addressed.
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    Navigating Ambiguity, Inspiring Career Pivots, and Engaging in Critical Action: Leveraging Critical Consciousness with Education Abroad Alumni
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Tottenham, Dana E.; Gonzáles, Juan C.; Acevedo, Rosa Maria; Lund, Jennifer A.; Reddick, Richard J.; Sáenz, Victor B.
    This study considers the experience of education abroad alumni through a social justice lens. We leverage literature that places systemic change at the fore, underscoring the importance of addressing deeply ingrained attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions that perpetuate systemic inequalities or hinder progress. Practitioners and scholars have called into question the problematic, essentialist roots of study abroad while advocating for increased accessibility to education abroad. Building upon this priority, this article is oriented with a critical consciousness framework. The findings show the profound transformative impact of the study abroad experience on the personal lives of alumni, the level of career integration in their professional development, and the direct correlation between program design as it relates to social justice orientations. This project addresses a gap in the scholarship by focusing on longitudinal, qualitative data for action and the influence of alumni in increasing access to education abroad for the next generation.
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    The Nexus Between Patriotism and Censorship: The “New Normal” for Academic Expression
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Somers, Patricia A.; Gururaj, Suchitra V.; Geier, Jess; Brewer, Curtis A.
    According to the ACLU (2005), “. . .at times of national stress -- real or imagined -- First Amendment rights come under enormous pressure.” So, too, academic freedom of expression for faculty, staff, and students has become a casualty in the post-9/11 world. Academics were criticized and reprimanded for not being patriotic enough. Using a conceptual framework that includes historical reanalysis, terror management theory, contradictory constructions of patriotism, and electronic discourse, this essay explores the nexus between patriotism and free expression in higher education. We examine historical trends in freedom of expression, analyze three higher education case studies (Chilling Churchill; 9/11 and Middle Eastern Studies; and Shunning Bob Jensen), and suggest why patriotism and censorship go hand and glove in times of national crisis. We end one a cautionary note, expressing concern about how easily words can be turned against academics, the very people who should have the highest level of protection for their words. Nearly 20 years ago, Professor Pat Somers joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin bringing her trademark wit and her seemingly indefatigable energy to root out injustice. The paper below represents one such branch of her academic curiosity in response to a perceived injustice to a fellow member of the Academy. This paper was first presented as a draft manuscript at the American Educational Research Association and later submitted to a notable journal. Unfortunately, a second paper on academic freedom was already included in the edition, but the editors encouraged Pat and her team to pursue other publications. And then, as with many things, this paper fell to the side as Pat pursued a new branch of academic curiosity and stewarded her many doctoral students through the dissertation process. As you will note in the dedication, Pat was a deeply curious and pedagogically dynamic member of the Academy and this paper stands at the ready for updating and resubmission. We present it today unadulterated as a testimony to Pat’s prescience, her passion and her drive – a historical glimpse into the early days of a very real threat to academic freedom that persists today.
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    Affirmative Action in Brazilian Higher Education: Actors, Events, and Networks, 1992 – 2008
    (Texas Education Review, 2024) Somers, Patricia A.
    This unfinished manuscript (written February 2008) originated as a working paper published here to illustrate Pat's organizational approach, writing process, and commitment to engaged scholarship. The article contains several incomplete sections, but the editors added notes to provide some explanations and a complete set of references. The paper focuses on African Brazilians' struggle for race equity, leading to legislation and regulations institutionalizing affirmative action practices in Brazilian higher education. Rather than complete the paper, the editors believe that presenting her work in this form, on a subject she sincerely cared about, serves as a meaningful tribute to her legacy.
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    Measuring Two Constructs of Afterschool Activity Participation: Breadth and Intensity
    (Texas Education Review, 2023) Palma, Jose R.; Van Boekel, Martin; Hufnagle, Ashley S.
    The benefits of afterschool activity participation for youth development are well-documented. An interesting question dominating this field is whether there is a threshold at which point participating in too many activities (breadth) and spending too much time in those activities (intensity) is negatively associated with desirable outcomes. Using 9th grade student data (N=115,731) from three administrations of a state-wide school survey, we explore whether students’ breadth and intensity of afterschool participation is associated with GPA and perceived family and community support. Findings corroborate prior research in demonstrating the association between breadth and intensity. Importantly, we extend the discussion, with three important observations. First, a linear model is insufficient for modeling these complex associations with outcomes. Second, there is a threshold at which too much participation has a negative impact in these outcomes. Third, variations in activities, time windows and indices have small or no influence in the association with outcomes.
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    Navigating a Third Space to Support International Students in the U.S.
    (Texas Education Review, 2023) Aziz, Jurana
    The present article explores the experiences of two international graduate students who studied in the United States and how they dealt with the challenges of living in a new country. The researcher was inspired by Bhabha's (1994) third space theory and aimed to investigate how these students tried to create a space for themselves in the classroom to overcome cultural differences. The data has been collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed using Gee's (2011) discourse analysis method. The study concluded that providing international students with a designated space in the classroom to address their cultural challenges could greatly benefit them, and teachers can actively facilitate this space.
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    Deconstructing Deficit Orientation: Teacher Perceptions of Lived Experiences of Young Children
    (Texas Education Review, 2022) Keller Nicol, Marilyn; Sherrod, Ambra
    This conceptual paper explored the fundamental barriers to successful equity training and professional development for teachers. This was done to show the need for a professional development series, based on Ting-Toomey and Chung’s (2012) cultural value pattern analysis. Using the theoretical lens of post-colonial theory, the authors posit the need for professional development that begins with teacher positioning (Davies & Harré, 1990) for purpose of disrupting deficit-oriented epistemes of sociocultural differences. The conceptual framework contains activities for participants, as well as future recommendations for further training.
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    School-Based Policies to Identify Adversity in Childhood and Mitigate the Effects of Toxic Stress in Texas
    (Texas Education Review, 2022) Palacios, Arelis; Reid Jr., Michael; Reventlow, Geneva; Ripma, Tye; Spitzer, Natalie
    Drawing on evidence and example legislation, this policy research brief identifies school-based policy options for Texas to prevent and mitigate toxic stress caused by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The term ACEs refers to the 10 common categories of adversity included in a landmark study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente (Felliti et al., 1998). These include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; and household challenges such as living with a person who is experiencing mental illness (Felliti et al., 1998). Of great concern is that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, ACEs were already widespread in the state, cutting across lines of race and income and potentially affecting constituents from every region and demographic group (Texas Department of State Health Services, n.d.). Over the past two years, COVID-19-related school and child-care center closures coupled with an economic recession have increased children’s risk of hunger, homelessness, and neglect (Welch & Haskins, 2020). The effects of ACEs are particularly concerning in Texas which is home to over 7.5 million children under 18—more than any state other than California—and children under 18 make up more than 25% of the population of Texas—more than any other state other than Utah (Population Reference Bureau, n.d.). Therefore, Texas’s school-based policies to mitigate the effects of toxic stress are particularly consequential now and in the future. The purpose of this policy research brief is to identify and describe nationwide legislative efforts to help Texas school district officials and Texas policymakers consider legislative remedies to reduce or mitigate the detrimental impact of ACEs.
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    Forward to the Special Issue: AFyL and the Reading of the Politics of Liberation
    (Texas Education Review, 2023) Dussel, Enrique; Salazar, Gabriel
    Politics of Liberation is part of the process of what could be called the Latin American revolutions of the second emancipation, which have been developing since the second half of the 20th century, as a philosophy it must express the theory that is being created in the praxis of multiple participatory experiences that are already taking place in various horizons of the continent, and that, for example, Boaventura de Sousa Santos has exemplified in numerous publications. This special issue is a small contribution to Latin American social movement, it is didactic and pedagogical, product of the seminar organized by the Asociación de Filosofía y Liberación (AFyL), which emerges as a proposal in 2010 in Mazatlán, where in a general assembly it was agreed to create spaces for the dissemination and development of the Philosophy of Liberation.
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    Confronting the Limits of this World: History, the Politics of Liberation, and Education
    (Texas Education Review, 2023) Martinez, Adam
    Filosofía de la liberación generates a sort of hope and energy that we are not meant to be in possession of. Postmodern reasoning, perfuse in critical spaces, tells us that grand narratives, now debunked relics of the past, are no longer accessible—concealing the fact that capitalism has generated and polices the “grandest” of all narratives. As Alicia Hopkins explains in her reflection in this volume: “Market fundamentalism has taken the place of the macro-narratives that postmodern thinkers had written off, strategically utilizing amnesia—which uproots—and the fetishization of history—which naturalizes domination—as ideological tools that are not easy to dismantle.” The confidence of naming and knowing the world—of generating a grand narratif—is meant to be the purview of whiteness. However, the work that is emerging from the global South, this collection of essays included, aims not only of de-structing the prevailing order of things, it is, in the positive, creative sense, laboring in the construction of a more just world from and for the outside—one where many worlds will fit as the neo-Zapatistas say. We are affirming our own categories and a new world is being born, with a new reason for which the affirmation of life—human and nonhuman—is its fundamental principal.
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    Archaeosystem, Urban Revolution and Rationalized Unification of the Political
    (Texas Education Review, 2023) Hopkins Moreno, Alicia
    The reconstruction of history from below retraces the path in search of what has been forgotten, it is a “history against the grain” that offers guidelines, which looks at the past from messianic categories and situates itself in a present that demands the concrete action of justice. Instead of holding up new events that might allow the hegemonic history to be dislocated, the task would be, rather, to find the ruins of any possible history to be narrated. From the archaeosystem to the Roman empire, which is the historical fragment this paper deals with, what are the faces of oppression, what structures were consolidating themselves in the relationship of domination with the rest of life on the planet? It is not a question to be fully answered in this brief text, but rather to point out ways in which we might approach Dussel’s text on the history of politics of liberation to find some clues.