Education News

$2.2 Million In Grants Connect Education Research And School Problems

Independent researchers at Rice University aim to find the best possible information to help decisions at the state’s largest school district.


The Houston Independent School District grapples with some tough challenges.

Thanks to a new multimillion dollar grant, school leaders will get more outside help to try to solve those problems.

For example, what’s the best way to predict a student is going to drop out of school? Or the best way to teach bilingual kids?

Those are some questions that Rice University researchers are examining for HISD administrators.

“Overall, we’re trying to improve the connection between research policy and practice,” said Ruth Lopez Turley, who directs the Houston Education Research Consortium at Rice.

That partnership will expand into new areas like early childcare and the workforce since the Houston Endowment and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation have both contributed new grants.

Together, the grants are worth $2.2 million.

Lopez Turley said that the partnership is a two-way line of communication.

First, HISD leaders tell Rice researchers what issues they’re dealing with.

“They’re trying to find the answers to those questions of, you know, what works best and trying to figure out what is the best approach,” she said.

Then Rice researchers try to find the answer so that school leaders have more information when they make decisions.

Because of the grant funding, Lopez Turley said that they can be independent and not paid vendors for the school district.



Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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