At Commit Partnership, we believe the ability to learn is distributed equally, but too often opportunity is not. For example, national studies show that students are regularly given classroom materials that are below the appropriate grade level. Worse, students in schools serving more historically marginalized communities are assigned below grade-level work at higher rates than their peers.
The good news is Texas is responding proactively by investing in high-quality instructional materials (HQIM). HQIM are rigorous curricula developed based on research and aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards. These materials allow teachers to spend less time on lesson planning and more time on lesson internalization and student outcomes, while ensuring all students have access to grade-level content.
With the passage of House Bill 1605 (88R), districts will have access to new funding to implement HQIM. The State Board of Education, which must approve the materials, is working on guidelines that will outline the components of these instructional materials in Texas. Therefore, the insights from Texas educators who are already using HQIM are valuable for shaping these decisions.
In these videos, reading and math teachers highlight the impact of HQIM in Dallas ISD.
Commit’s Managing Director of Early Matters Dallas, Amber Shields, is a former Dallas ISD elementary principal. She shared the impact of HQIM on her campus, N.W. Harllee Early Childhood Center:
“HQIM was a powerful tool for me to better support the teachers and students on my campus. With this reliable and rigorous set of aligned expectations, I knew that no matter the classroom I walked into, whether the classroom of a veteran teacher or a novice, students were getting consistent instruction.”
As we analyze the facts and data, we understand that HQIM supports our True North Goal: By 2040, at least half of all 25- to 34-year-old Texas residents will earn salaries that meet our living wage standard. Without these materials, Texas is not on track to meet that goal given that our young students are less likely to be on grade-level. Of students who did not meet grade-level reading expectations in third grade in 2019, only 1 in 5 (18%) caught up to perform at grade level in three years, by sixth grade. And the same is true in math; just over 1 in 10 students (13%) caught up in that same time period (Commit Analysis, 2019-2022), enabling them to stay on track to earn postsecondary degrees and salaries at the living wage level.
School systems that have piloted more rigorous instructional materials, however, are reversing these trends. Data from the 2021-22 school year show that students on some campuses piloting HQIM outperformed the growth rate of students who did not benefit.
Thanks to Kim West, Melissa Imhoff Salo, Shaniera Johnson, and Adrienne Martinez for lending their valuable insights as more Texas schools districts consider seizing the opportunity offered by HB 1605. Check back in the coming weeks for more educators’ perspectives on this transformative tool.