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Investigating Causal Effects of Arts Education Experiences: Experimental Evidence from Houston’s Arts Access Initiative

February 1, 2019

The recent wave of test-based accountability reforms has negatively impacted the provision of K-12 arts educational experiences. Advocates contend that, in addition to providing intrinsic benefits, the arts can positively influence academic and social development. However, the empirical evidence to support such claims is limited. We conducted a randomized controlled trial with 10,548 3rd8th grade students who were enrolled in 42 schools that were assigned by lottery to receive substantial influxes of arts education experiences provided through school-community partnerships with local arts organizations, cultural institutions, and teaching-artists. We find that these increases in arts educational experiences significantly reduce the proportion of students receiving disciplinary infractions by 3.6 percentage points, improve STAAR writing achievement by 0.13 of a standard deviation, and increase students' compassion for others by 0.08 of a standard deviation. For students in elementary schools, which comprise 86 percent of the sample, we find that these arts educational experiences also significantly improve school engagement, college aspirations, and arts-facilitated empathy. These findings provide strong evidence that arts educational experiences can produce significant positive impacts on student academic and social development. Policymakers should consider these multifaceted educational benefits when assessing the role and value of the arts in K-12 schools.

Providing Health Care to Those In Need

November 15, 2016

In 2008 a study of the primary care safety net in Harris County found that the safety net was a "loosely organized group of providers" that demonstrated "a significant gap between primary care need and primary care provided in the county." The purpose of this study is to re-assess the primary care landscape in Harris County some eight years later. As well as determining the extent of primary care availability for low-income residents of the county, the study also seeks to describe the ways in which clinics provide care, including the nature of services that are available, clinic staffing models, clinic efforts to achieve continuity of care, clinic finances and operations, and key collaborations that are used to enhance services for their patients. Although there are many private healthcare providers that serve un- and under-insured residents in Harris County – including private hospitals, Medicaid-licensed physicians, and cash-based providers – this study takes a deep look at three types of community clinics: FQHCs; primary care clinics run by the Harris Health System; and Other/Charity clinics, including faith-based clinics and nonprofit clinics including Planned Parenthood.

A New Measure of Educational Success in Texas

February 29, 2012

Analyzes the percentage of Texas public school students starting eighth grade in 1996-98 who enrolled in higher education after high school graduation and who attained a postsecondary certificate or degree within six years by race/ethnicity and gender.

Forks in the Road: The Many Paths of Arts Alumni

May 3, 2011

Presents findings from a survey of visual and performing arts graduates about current employment, satisfaction with training and careers, ability to continue to create or perform, and elements needed to better connect arts training to artistic careers.

Life After Prison: Tracking the Experiences of Male Prisoners Returning to Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston

May 15, 2010

Examines the reentry experiences of 652 men in the three cities, including housing stability, family relationships, substance use, employment, and recidivism. Analyzes outcome predictors such as prison programs, job training, and family structure.

Women on the Outside: Understanding the Experiences of Female Prisoners Returning to Houston, Texas

June 5, 2009

Compares the experiences of women returning from prison with those of men, including being reunited with children and obtaining employment and child care. Explores policies and practices that would help support women prisoners' reentry.

Prisoner Reentry in Houston: Community Perspectives

May 14, 2009

Outlines the views of community members, local government, and the nonprofit sector on housing, employment, substance abuse, and other issues of prisoner reentry; policies and practices that affect reentry; and the roles of the community and stakeholders.

When Relatives Return: Interviews With Family Members of Returning Prisoners in Houston, Texas

May 14, 2009

Examines the emotional, financial, and other tangible support family members of released prisoners provide during the reentry process, how they are affected, and what services would help. Compares the experiences of relatives of released men and women.

Health and Prisoner Reentry: How Physical, Mental, and Substance Abuse Conditions Shape the Process of Reintegration

February 1, 2008

Documents the health challenges released prisoners face and the impact of physical health conditions, mental illness, and substance abuse on the reentry process, including finding housing and employment, reconnecting with family, and avoiding recidivism.

Bays in Peril: A Forecast for Freshwater Flows to Texas Estuaries

October 1, 2004

Takes a look at increasing water demands in Texas, and what would happen to the inflows to the seven major estuaries if existing water permits were fully used and wastewater reuse increased. Provides recommendations for action.

Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U.S. Artists

July 1, 2003

Documents and analyzes the environment of support for individual artists. Provides a framework for analysis of various dimensions of the support structure, nationally and in specific sites across the U.S. Includes support programs and policy initiatives.