Submitted On: Monday, June 9, 2014
Analyst: Gos, Michael/Lee College
Texas does not have a single, statewide literacy plan. Instead, the governance of literacy training is spread over three agencies according to grade level. P-12 is governed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), adult basic education is run by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and higher education is handled by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
A few years ago the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board created a P-16 Council to discuss creating a unified plan but those efforts floundered and the group has since disbanded. In spite of that, there are still several local P-16 councils that are very successful. For example, Austin Community College has one of the best in the country. Lee College in Baytown, Texas has a “cradle to career” network that identifies literacy issues in the community and is associated with the United Way. And a new program called “The All Kids Alliance” is beginning at the University of Houston. It will build and sustain a P-16 model.
In spite of the fragmented nature of Texas literacy policy, there is some structural support for work at all three levels. For example, the Workforce Commission sponsors an “Innovation Grant” for organizations wanting to develop innovative delivery methods for adult basic education that can then be used statewide. They also administer all federal programs. The Texas Education Agency offers school districts Literacy Initiative Grants for programs in language acquisition. In addition, STAAR testing ensures literacy thresholds are reached at specific grade levels. The agency provides extensive professional development offerings for STAAR testing and districts are required to demonstrate the minimum required professional development has taken place.