Major Initiatives


Since its inception in 2006, TCEP has been an active, authoritative voice in the Texas State Legislature.  The Center utilizes research to advocate for high-quality education for all, in particular, historically disadvantaged students in Texas public schools.  A significant achievement involves a revision to the Texas Education Code that removes high-stakes tests as the primary bases for decisions pertaining to grade promotion and retention, positively affecting over 300,000 third-grade children in Texas public schools this school year.  Such decisions will now be based on such factors as grades, attendance, classroom performance, teacher assessment, parent input, and test performance.  Continuing efforts include convening groups for the discussion of policy, writing policy and research briefs, conducting original research, providing recommendations and advising on proposed education legislation and policy at local, state, national, and international levels.

2015 – 84th Session of the Texas State Legislature

The TCEP Graduate Seminar was instituted in the 2014-2015 academic year, to allow professors and graduate students to collaborate on policy briefs and memos related to critical issues facing Texas in the current legislative session.

2011 – 82nd Session of the Texas State Legislature


National Latino/a Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP)

Since Fall 2009, TCEP also plays a major leadership role as the national office of the National Latino/a Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP), a community-based, university-connected, grow-your-own, teacher preparation education pipeline project for high school youth in the following six states:  Texas, Arizona, California, Wisconsin, Illinois, and New York.  NLERAP promotes parental and community participation in school governance, develops leadership and political awareness among youth, promotes systemic change, and improves academic achievement.


Teacher Education Institutes Initiative (TEI)

Dr. Valenzuela inherited the ten-year investment in this effort (1999-2009) from NLERAP founders Professor Pedro Pedraza and Dr. Melissa Rivera, now retired from Hunter College, City University of New York.  With support from a $300,000.00 grant from the Ford Foundation in November 2009, Dr. Valenzuela is spearheading the planning phase of these institutes and developing a research agenda that will have local-, state-, and national-level policy implications for addressing the vexed Latino education student and teacher pipeline with a focus on the kinds of programmatic elements, including curriculum development, that needs to be in place for the effective preparation of teachers.