Education Research Center to evaluate large urban education initiative

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: May 17, 2012

The State of Texas Education Research Center (ERC) at Texas A&M University is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant from United Way of Greater Houston to conduct an evaluation of the agency’s urban education initiative. The urban education initiative involves 29 non-profit agency programs that deliver educational services for over 275,000 children and youth from disadvantaged circumstances in the Houston metropolitan area.

The Education Initiative is an outgrowth of the efforts of a task force of Houston community leaders recruited by United Way of Greater Houston to identify various means by which the organization could support and impact the work of the city’s school districts. Three specific projects are being implemented during the next several years to improve education in Houston: (a) an early reading tutorial program in Grades 1–3, (b) a parent education program to improve parents’ engagement with schools, and (c) a collaborative educational program that involves non-profit agencies and local school districts.

“This Education Initiative by United Way will serve as a long-term vision for the agency in its goal to help the Houston metropolitan area become a place where high-quality education and high school graduation are the norm and where resources are available to help all students achieve to their highest ability,” said Hersh Waxman, director of the ERC. “The evaluation will focus on examining the effectiveness of the initiative and identifying promising practices and educational programs.”

The ERC research team will implement a mixed-methods approach for both formative and summative purposes. The formative evaluation will assist United Way of Greater Houston in improving its efforts throughout the year. The summative evaluation will examine the effectiveness of educational programs and practices. The ERC will also focus on developing a longitudinal, data-based system that will be used to describe the quality and effectiveness of the educational program on students, teachers, parents, and the community as a whole. Systematic observations, interviews, surveys, focus groups, and quantitative outcome data will be used to examine various program components.

Hersh Waxman, Beverly Alford, Kayla Rollins, Jackie Stillisano, Yolanda Padrón, and Danielle Brown are Co-PIs of the project.

For additional information, please contact Beverly Alford at or Kayla Rollins at