History and Background
In 2006, the 79th Texas Legislature (3rd called session) identified the need for connecting educational information sources into a longitudinal data warehouse for the use of policy and practice. Legislators authorized the creation of three Education Research Centers (ERCs) to house Texas data and facilitate research that benefits all levels of education in Texas. According to the Texas Education Code, Section 1.005:
A center shall conduct education and workforce preparation studies or evaluations for the benefit of this state, including studies or evaluations relating to:
(1) the impact of local, regional, state, and federal policies and programs, including an education program, intervention, or service at any level of education from preschool through postsecondary education;
(2) the performance of educator preparation programs;
(3) public school finance; and
(4) the best practices of school districts with regard to classroom instruction, bilingual education programs, special language programs, and business practices.
The ERCs were to provide access to high quality, student-level data from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), and other sources of educational information for the state of Texas. The ERC data resources would span from the Pre-K level through higher education (P-16) and into the Texas workforce; it would host longitudinal information dating back from 1990 to current day. Researchers are able to use this rich repository of data to follow individual Texas students from their first day in school to their last day on the job.