The College of Education at UT Austin Convenes a Learning Community to Examine the Significance of Curriculum Literacy in Texas

Dec. 14, 2021

Do teachers in Texas have access to high quality instructional materials and are they prepared and supported on how to use them? This is the question the Texas Education Curriculum Literacy Learning Community will research and examine over the next year.

Led by faculty members in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin, the learning community will explore the role of curriculum literacy in teacher preparation. The group will study national trends, emerging research and current Texas practices to chart a course for further study, testing of hypotheses, and provide recommendations for expanding best practices across Texas.

UT Austin’s College of Education received a one-year learning grant for the Texas Education Curriculum Literacy Learning Community from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“It is important that we continuously look for ways to improve outcomes for students by ensuring all teachers and leaders are prepared and supported to navigate, negotiate, and apply high quality instructional materials in classrooms for all students. It’s also important that we continually endeavor to ensure that instructional materials respond to the diverse and cultural and community contexts in which teaching takes place,” said Charles Martinez, Jr., dean of the College of Education at UT Austin. “I am excited about the work that the Texas Education Curriculum Literacy Learning Community is doing. Their findings and recommendations will make a great impact across Texas.”

This initiative is one of the key priorities identified by Dean Martinez, and lead principal investigator and professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Allison Skerrett. The focus of the priority is to reimagine Texas Education’s role as an agent of change, committed to transforming education research, practice and policy. The study will examine curriculum literacy as aligned to the College of Education’s signature areas for advancing equity and eliminating disparities in education and health, attending to place and context and thriving through transitions.

The learning community will engage educator preparation programs with school district partners and the Texas Education Agency to examine potential revisions in educator preparation programming specifically as it relates to the role and application of curriculum literacy and use of high-quality instructional materials. The partners include:

  • UT Austin and Round Rock ISD
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Rio Grande City Consolidated ISD
  • Region 4 Inspire and Aldine ISD
  • Texas Education Agency

The learning community is also guided by additional committees, including an Advisory Committee which includes state and national educators. Their role will be to provide recommendations for and approval of project planning, discuss ongoing learning and outcomes, and consider implications for the next phase of planning and scaling within the College of Education and beyond. Research advisors to the learning community are faculty members from the College of Education.

The Texas Education Curriculum Literacy Learning Community will provide its research findings and recommendations to the Advisory Committee and College of Education’s senior leadership team in June 2022.