Institute of Urban Policy

Research Library

https://https://utexas.box.com/s/aenkbtk0w6cm07nkuts1g27dhda9v11zAs a policy research institute, IUPRA has been conducting research on social issues affecting Black communities in Texas since its inception in 2012. Through issues briefs, policy reports, community partner projects, and more, IUPRA diffuses cutting-edge policy research that will change the world, starting here in Texas. Below, you will find a list of all of our research reports and projects by year, with the most recent reports at the top.

Jump to year: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Are you interested in collaborating with IUPRA on a research project? Have research questions about policy issues in Texas? Contact us to discuss your ideas and see your research project here next! Fill out this form and we'll get in touch with you.

 

2020 

Triple Threat: COVID-19, Racial Injustice and Mental Health
Annika Olson, MA., MPP., Nabeeha Engineer

Public health officials and researchers have long shown that the convergence of multiple, big- time stressors can have a serious impact on mental health and well-being. This brief highlights the state of Black mental health across the country and within the state of Texas, how current events have exacerbated mental health crises, and what policy efforts and resources are in place to help address the issue.

A Snapshot of Black Immigrants in Texas
Ricardo Lowe, MS
A continued increase in foreign-born Black populations is rapidly changing the perception of what it means to be Black in America. To date, Black immigrants account for approximately 9 percent of the total Black population. It is important to assess the diversity of Black America in order to properly understand both intra- and inter-racial disparities and to avoid one-size fits all policy approaches that are not necessarily inclusive of all Black sub-groups. This brief gives a demographic overview of Black immigrants in Texas. 

Dual-Language Programs and Black Student Achievement
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Tracie Lowe, PhD
Bilingual education is a powerful tool for social mobility and transformation, especially among historically marginalized communities. This brief serves to 1) explain what dual-language programs are and 2) provide critical data that can be used to advocate for the expansion of dual-language programs for Black students.

Advancing Equity in AISD: What We Know About the Role of Equity Offices in Public School Districts Part 1
Ricardo Lowe, MS; Annika Olson, MA, MPP
The Austin Independent School District (AISD) is among the few public school districts in the nation with an independent equity office and a Chief Equity Officer. AISD’s commitment to equity requires collaboration from the district in order to achieve desired outcomes. We reviewed existing sources on strategies and best practices for how public school districts can work toward eliminating disparities and sorted our findings into a six-part series. In Part 1, we discuss the overall purpose that equity offices play in public school districts, what this role looks like in other school districts across the nation, and emphasize anti-Blackness as a critical point of redress.

Issue Brief: Racially Restrictive Covenants
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Nabeeha Engineer; Danielle C.H. Wright, PhD
Racially restrictive covenants and deed restrictions still plague communities over a century after their first appearance in the late 1800s. While no longer enforceable, they are often embedded in property and real estate documents in communities throughout the country. This brief highlights the history of racially restrictive covenants, identifies ongoing state legislation attempting to remove racist language from property deeds, and suggests areas of policy reform.

Quick Definitions Guide: Education in Texas
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
Given the changing state of public education, IUPRA has compiled a list of terms related to key entities responsible for policy and decision-making of schools and other educational institutions.

Black Women on the Frontline Part 3: Policy Recommendations
Tracie Lowe, PhD; Ricardo Lowe, MS
In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we tabulated 2014-2018 American Community Survey data and discovered that Black and Hispanic women are overrepresented in occupations deemed essential, both nationally and in Texas. This puts them at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19. After analyzing this data and examining how it contributes to economic and health disparities, as well as gender inequality, our final brief lists four key policy recommendations for legislators to consider in order to protect Black women.

Local Legislative Body Resolution Writing Guide
Stephanie Asper, BA; Annika Olson, MA, MPP
This guide identifies the purpose, components, and process for drafting a resolution at the local legislative level. Though the process and procedures of the City Council of Austin, Texas is used as an example within this document, it may also be used as a template for resolutions in other cities throughout the United States.

Black Women on the Frontline Part 2: A Statewide Overview
Ricardo Lowe, MS; Tracie Lowe, PhD
In Part 1 of this series, we tabulated 2014-2018 American Community Survey data and discovered that frontline industries disproportionately rely on non-Hispanic Black women, who tend to be clustered in low-wage occupations and face various economic disparities as a result. Many of these industries require Black women to be in close proximity to consumers and clients, heightening their probability of exposure to COVID-19. The present report examines how these issues appear in Texas, which carries the largest population of Black women working full-time, year-round. The disparities among Black women working in frontline industries—paired with co-existing disparities for Black women in regard to economic status, health, and more—has important implications for legislatures to consider. In the third installment of this series, we will focus our discussion on considerations for policymakers working to address the impact of COVID-19 on Black women frontline workers in the Texas labor force.

Policing, Justice, and Black Communities Part 3: Policing, Policy, and Transformative Justice - An Overview of Reform and Abolition Strategies
Chloe White, BA; Annika Olson, MA, MPP
Recent calls to defund the police have sparked a debate between abolitionists and reformists. IUPRA has prepared a three-part series to examine and understand the nuances of this debate. In Part 3, we discuss current policing reform efforts in the U.S., paying specific attention to the practices of transformative justice and abolition. Our previous reports gave overviews of the historical context of policing and commonly used terms in police reform discussions. Through this series, we seek to assist policymakers, scholars, and community members with the knowledge and understanding to redress a problem that has been pervasive for far too long in Black communities. 

Policy Solutions to Address School Segregation for Equitable Outcomes
Valerie Sterne, MA; Stephanie Asper, BA
This policy brief is the last installment in our series about racial and economic segregation in Texas schools. In the previous parts of this series, we examined patterns of school segregation in Texas elementary schools and reviewed the research on the impacts of school segregation. In this brief, we outline policy solutions to address school segregation in ways that will lead to more equitable outcomes for all students. The policies recommended tackle segregation from multiple angles and varying degrees of difficulty. It is of great importance to move toward true equity and integration to ensure an educated populous and prepared work force in the state of Texas.

Public and Charter School Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic Series: Dallas | Houston | Austin
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Ricardo Lowe, MS; Rachel Boggs, MEd
The spread of COVID-19 and subsequent school closures have exacerbated existing disparities, especially in regard to distance learning, technology access, and food insecurity. In this series of briefs, we will examine the response of public and charter schools in major cities across Texas, paying particular attention to meal distribution and access to technology. These briefs also provide links and resources for caretakers and students.

Policing, Justice, and Black Communities Part 2: A Brief Guide for Understanding Police Defunding, Reform, Disbanding, and Abolition
Tracie Lowe, PhD
Recent calls to defund the police have sparked a debate between abolitionists and reformists. IUPRA has prepared a three-part series to examine and understand the nuances of this debate. In Part 2, we provide useful information on the meaning of frequently used phrases such as “defund the police,” “abolish the police,” and more. Given the expansive nature of the issue, the definitions provided may not be all-encompassing. Instead, they serve as a useful introductory tool. The next part of our series will provide and in-depth discussion of police reform in the United States. Through this series, we seek to assist policymakers, scholars, and community members with the knowledge and understanding to redress a problem that has been pervasive for far too long in Black communities.

The Long-Term Effects of Racial and Economic School Segregation
Valerie Sterne, MA
Students who attend high-poverty schools face a myriad of opportunity gaps, but all students benefit from integrated schools. Low-income students are more likely to go to college, have higher life earnings, and better health outcomes; and integrated schools reduce racial bias. By addressing patterns of segregation, school officials are addressing equity issues. Our recommendation is that more districts in the state, especially those with the largest disparities, adopt proven innovative enrollment policies that will reduce disparities and create more intentionally integrated schools. An upcoming policy brief will contain specific policy recommendations to address racial and economic segregation within schools.

Policing, Justice, and Black Communities Part 1: A Historical Overview
Ricardo Lowe, MS
Recent calls to defund the police have sparked a debate between abolitionists and reformists. IUPRA has prepared a three-part series to examine and understand the nuances of this debate. In Part 1, we provide a historical overview of the nature of policing in Black communities in order to contextualize calls to defund and reform the police. Future reports will detail the difference between police reform and police defunding, transformative justice, and policy recommendations. Through this series, we seek to assist policymakers, scholars, and community members with the knowledge and understanding to redress a problem that has been pervasive for far too long in Black communities.

Learning Loss During COVID-19 and Findings from the Census Household Pulse Survey
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
Educational researchers have long known about the “summer slide,” in which students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds experience academic achievement loss over the summer months, and begin the new school year with achievement levels lower than they were before the start of the break. But new research has begun to highlight a similar effect due to school campus closures and a move to online learning as a result of COVID-19. This brief highlights this recent research, including results from the Census Household Pulse Survey on online learning in Texas, and ends with recommendations to schools, policy makers, and educators to improve academic achievement for all students.

Disconnected Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
In response to social distancing measures due to COVID-19, schools have had to move to online learning formats. During this time, some students are disconnected—meaning their schools, teachers, and staff have been unable to reach them since campuses closed. In this issue brief, we examine the issues exacerbating disconnection and the areas school districts can address when thinking about long-term strategic planning for students.

Elementary School Poverty Disparities in Texas
Valerie Sterne, MA
Social scientists have long examined the impact of racial and economic segregation in public schools. Decades of research suggest that students in racially segregated, high poverty schools face an opportunity gap that has a negative impact on all areas of life. Black and Hispanic students in particular are more likely to be tracked into high poverty schools and tend to be the most impacted by these adversities. If low-income students were evenly distributed among schools, all students would attend schools that had the same levels of Economically Disadvantaged students. Regrettably, this is not the case in Texas. This report focuses on differences in school poverty levels among White, Black, and Hispanic elementary students in Texas. The first section examines school poverty disparities statewide. The second section focuses on disparities within counties, and the final section focuses on disparities within school districts.

Black Women on the Frontline Part 1: A National Overview
Tracie Lowe, PhD; Ricardo Lowe, MS
Recent work on COVID-19 centers on essential workers with little regard to the contribution of Black women, even though Black women are overrepresented in these fields. In this brief, we contextualize why Black women disproportionately occupy frontline industries by assessing their overall experiences in the national labor force. We then discuss their specific overrepresentation in essential work compared to women of other racial/ethnic groups and men. The disparities among Black women working in frontline industries—paired with co-existing disparities for Black women in regard to economic status, health, and more—has important implications for legislatures to consider. As essential workers on the frontline during COVID-19, Black women continue to give of themselves in substantial ways, and must be supported sufficiently. In part two of this series, we will discuss Black women essential workers in the state of Texas specifically.

Be Counted: Why the Census Is So Important and Who Is at Risk
Ricardo Lowe, MS; Annika Olson, MA, MPP
COVID-19 is dramatically disrupting census operations in Texas. With self-response rates at 54.1 percent, the state is approximately 6 percentage points behind the national average and ranks 41st in the nation to date. IUPRA stands beside local governments, nonprofits, and impacted communities in informing Texans about the importance of being counted. In this brief, we outline the importance of the census, note the populations most at risk of omission, and provide important dates and step-by-step processes necessary to completing the census.

Education and the Digital Divide in Texas City Spotlight Fact Sheet Series: Austin | Dallas | El Paso | Fort Worth | Houston | San Antonio
Tracie Lowe, PhD; Ricardo Lowe, MS; Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
In a world that is highly connected via technology, digital inclusion is necessary to support the social and economic aspects of communities across the nation. However, households in major cities across the nation still lack access to broadband access or high-speed internet, which contributes to the digital divide, or differences between those with and without access. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges related to the digital divide, specifically in the K-12 educational realm. As students all over Texas engage in online learning, geographic disparities in internet access place longstanding inequities at the forefront of discussions for school administrators. The purpose of this series is to highlight the digital divide disparities in Texas and the implications for students in vulnerable populations across the state. You can find the accompanying infographics here.

On the Frontline: A Demographic Portrait of Essential Workers in Texas
Ricardo Lowe, MS
Texas is struggling to cope with the ongoing social and economic impact of COVID-19. On the frontline of this crisis are “essential workers,” who unlike their non-essential counterparts, are unable to engage in shelter-in-place orders. While these workers are undoubtedly heroic for their commitment, their exposure to COVID-19 is obviously more pronounced—consequently putting their lives at risk. The purpose of this brief is to provide a snapshot of essential workers in Texas. Given our findings, the vast majority of these occupations are disproportionately prevalent among Black, Hispanics, and Asians, and in particular women. These groups are more likely to work in essential industries, and among Blacks and Hispanics, are mostly concentrated in low-wage occupations that otherwise complicate access to healthcare and for some, the ability to accrue paid sick leave. We recommend tracking COVID-19 data more comprehensively and documenting occupation type of every Texas resident that contracts the virus. This will prove valuable information for understanding how essential work contributes to disparities in COVID-19 related cases and deaths by race, ethnicity, and sex. Furthermore, it will help to better understand who is most vulnerable, so that we might incorporate necessary measures to keep essential workers safe from this crisis.

Issue Brief: The State of Small Black-Owned Businesses
Tracie Lowe
This issue brief gives an overview of the growth and challenges of small, Black-owned businesses in the United States, with a special focus on accessing funds and aid to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though programs were created to provide relief to small firms, there are concerns as to whether these measures will be enough for Black-owned businesses that have been historically disenfranchised. In this brief, we also discuss the credit application experience for Black-owned businesses, the ownership rates and growth of Black-owned businesses, and give three key policy recommendations for both federal and state leaders.

The Digital Divide: COVID-19 and Older Adults (Resource Sheet)
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
This tip sheet lists resources highlighted in the accompanying issue brief (see entry directly below). It includes resources and information on both national and state-wide levels. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, but serves as a starting place for ways to help older individuals during the pandemic.

The Digital Divide: COVID-19 and Older Adults (Issue Brief)
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
In a society where technology has become a dominant form of information gathering and communication, some older adults are left behind as they either do not own computers or cell phones, or have difficulty utilizing them efficiently. This “digital divide” has been apparent for decades and has recently been exacerbated by the quarantine guidelines enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Senior citizens are an especially high-risk group and require extra precautions to prevent contracting this disease, thus many older adults are confined to their homes or nursing homes that restrict visitors. Technological devices are more important than ever, but nearly 41% of adults over the age of 65 do not use the internet, over 50% do not have broadband access at home, and 25% do not use cell phones—making them a particularly vulnerable group during the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue brief describes the digital divide in more detail and lists potential solutions and resources for older adults or caretakers.

The Digital Divide and Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Ricardo Lowe, MS; Lynn Huynh
School closures due to the spread of COVID-19 have exposed significant internet inequality among students in the state of Texas and across the United States. At least 124,000 public schools across the country have closed, affecting over 55 million students. Now, as students move to online learning at home, thousands are left behind due to limited access to stable internet. This issue brief explores the digital divide in Texas and throughout the U.S. and reviews ongoing solutions, as well as gives key policy recommendations for developing a plan of action.

Most Black College Students Support Affirmative Action but Not the Use of Race in Admissions
Kevin Cokley, PhD; Tracie Lowe, PhD
Issues of equity and access for students of color in higher education have long been at the forefront of conversations among college and university leadership. Although Black undergraduate enrollment in colleges increased by 73 percent between 2000 and 2010, it decreased by 17 percent from 2010 to 2016. This decrease could be related to the use of existing admissions policies and an emphasis on traditional criteria, such as standardized test scores, that place some students of color at a disadvantage. However, very little is actually known about the views of Black students regarding admissions processes. Therefore, it is important to collect data regarding Black students’ perceptions of what factors should be considered in college admissions as these decisions impact their access to higher education. This report looks at that data, giving an analysis and relevant policy recommendations in regard to college admissions.

Issue Brief: Community Land Trusts as Tool for Affordable Housing
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a powerful tool in creating and retaining affordable housing. Successful CLT programs can be found throughout the major cities of Texas and the United States. In this issue brief, we explain the history of the CLT model and give an overview of the potential benefits and challenges they provide. Overall, we believe this model can be used as a key strategy for cities to increase affordable housing.

A Never-Ending Struggle: Examining County-Level School Segregation Across Texas
Ricardo Lowe, MS; Valerie Sterne, MA
Nationwide, Black and Hispanic students are increasingly becoming more segregated from their White counterparts. This is especially alarming in the state of Texas, where Blacks and Hispanics comprise more than 50 percent of the state’s population (Census Bureau, 2017). In this report, we examined county-level school segregation across the state. Our most essential finding is that of all 254 counties, Travis County is the only county to continuously present evidence of high levels of school segregation across all demographic groups. In fact, in each of our analyses, Travis county persistently ranks as a leading culprit of high segregation. Read more about our four key findings in the report. To follow up on these findings, we plan to publish more research examining segregation at the district level.

Policy Brief: Improving Homeowner Association Oversight and Homeowner Protections 
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Danielle C.H. Wright, PhD; Lynn Huynh
Homeowners associations (HOAs) have a deeply rooted history in the United States and across Texas. Research highlights that they may exacerbate segregation and, due to little governmental oversight, may not fully protect the rights of homeowners. It is important to address these issues, since homeownership is a significant pathway to social mobility and economic stability. We recommend using the South Carolina Homeowner’s Association Act (House Bill H.3886) as a model for defining HOA processes with a pro-homeowner focus and increasing local regulation of HOAs.

Issue Brief: Homeowners Associations Across Texas 
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) have a long history in the United States, and can have a profound impact on the communities that they govern. The purpose of this issue brief is to detail information about HOA processes, current state and federal legislation, and issues facing Texas homeowners under HOA governance. Research suggests that HOA practices may exacerbate racial segregation, negatively impacting low-income and minority communities. With no regulatory body overseeing HOAs in Texas, there is a significant need for policy reform in order to increase the protection of homeowners across the state.

Public School Equity Audits Issue Brief Series: Part III - Implementation Considerations
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
This brief is the third in a series of three on the use of equity audits in public school systems. Researchers, educators, and advocates highlight that public-school equity audits must be conducted on a regular basis, using a research-informed framework for analysis. In addition, IUPRA recommends that additional factors be examined to create a more holistic framework that looks at the entire school and district ecosystem: leadership capacity, campus control, and the role of the school district.

Public School Equity Audits Issue Brief Series: Part II - Atlanta, GA Case Study
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
This brief is the second in a series of three on the use of equity audits in public school systems. A public-school equity audit conducted in Atlanta provides an example of an institution that implemented the Skrla, et al., framework and utilized a wide array of qualitative and quantitative data in an effort to identify inequities within their school system. This brief highlights the process, methods, and objectives behind the Atlanta Public School equity audit and how it was used to achieve more equitable schools.

Public School Equity Audits Issue Brief Series: Part I
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Lynn Huynh
This brief is the first in a series of three on the use of equity audits in public school systems. Equity audits are powerful tools that assess disparities across school systems and are crucial when developing strategies that address inequities within schools and their districts. This issue brief serves as an overview of school equity audits, why they are necessary, how they are structured, and how they are interpreted.

Examining Enrollment Trends Between AISD and Local Charter Schools: A Demographic Perspective
Ricardo Lowe, MS; Rachel Boggs, MEd
Charter schools are one of the most contentious issues in education today. Charter school enrollment in Austin is rising rapidly, despite the declining enrollment in the Austin Independent School District (AISD). Nearly 80 percent of all charter enrollees in the state are either Black or Hispanic, and 71 percent of all Texas charter schools primarily serve economically disadvantaged students. These trends in Austin raise many questions surrounding AISD's proposed closures, which will be studied in future research publications. This numbers brief gives an overview of the enrollment trends between AISD schools and charter schools in Austin, using a demographic lens.

Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas - Part 3: Recommendations 
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Tracie Lowe, PhD; Lynn Huynh
This issue brief is the third in a series of three examining the state of affordable housing in Austin, Texas. This final brief gives IUPRA's key policy recommendations in regard to affordable housing. These recommendations are informed by the information and research outlined in parts 1 and 2. The three recommendations are to 1) Make the Austin Land Code more accessible to the community; 2) Reevaluate neighborhood plans, such as Neighborhood Conservation Combining Districts that serve to prevent the development of affordable housing in neighborhoods across Austin; and 3) Address misconceptions of what affordable housing is, and who benefits from accessing these housing options. More detail and rationale for each recommendation are included in the brief.

Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas - Part 2: Drivers of Housing Affordability
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Tracie Lowe, PhD; Lynn Huynh
This issue brief is the second in a series of three examining the state of affordable housing in Austin, Texas. In this brief, the authors give explain the factors that drive housing affordability and discuss the rising property values in Austin. They also give an explanation of the major obstacles to achieving affordable housing in Austin and Texas.

IUPRA Guide to Austin Land Code Definitions
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
As IUPRA continues to release research on housing affordability and development in Austin, it is helpful to understand the language surrounding the land code. This quick guide gives an overview of general and Austin-specific land code definitions.

Affordable Housing in Austin, Texas - Part 1: Overview
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Tracie Lowe, PhD; Lynn Huynh
This issue brief is the first in a series of three examining the state of affordable housing in Austin, Texas. As access to affordable housing affects all other areas of life, and therefore all other policy areas, it is crucial to understand housing terms, the current status, and the policies that shape affordable housing. In Part 1, the authors define affordable housing, who needs it, and the status of affordable housing in Austin. They then give an overview of local affordable housing policies and nonprofit organizations that provide or aid in affordable housing.

Understanding Housing Terms
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
To give context and understanding to our upcoming issue briefs on affordable housing, we put together this PDF of commonly used housing terms that are often confused or conflated. Get definitions and examples of affordable housing, workforce housing, and low-income housing.

 

2019

Centering Southeast Georgetown Community Voices 2019: Update, Explore Emerging Needs, and Evaluate Impact of Georgetown Health Foundation (GHF) Response to 2015 Assessment English | Spanish
Tracie A. Lowe, PhD; Juan Tiney Chirix, MA; Nina Clinton
In 2015, the Georgetown Health Foundation (GHF) commissioned a needs assessment, conducted by IUPRA. GHF wanted to understand both the opportunities and challenges facing low-income residents in Southeast Georgetown. Today, Georgetown continues to grow and change exponentially. The 2019 research was designed in order to: Determine whether the original "Top 10" Critical Needs identified in the 2015 Needs Assessment are still the top needs today; Learn if the efforts made over the last four years to address the 2015 findings have made a difference to community members, and; Identify any new or emerging issues that community members would like GHF to work on. Through qualitative, participatory research methods, nine key areas of focus were identified in this updated report.

Issue Brief: The Value of a Small School
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
There are differing definitions of what qualifies as a “small” school across AISD and the communities in Austin. The East Austin community has explained that small, neighborhood schools are those which are walkable from their homes, have a low student-to-teacher ratio, and serve as a center of stability for the community. Research has highlighted that small schools like these are particularly beneficial for minority students, those with disabilities, and families that are socioeconomically disadvantaged. With large concentrations of these populations on the east side of Austin, smaller schools are especially beneficial.

Numbers Brief: Rising Property Values of AISD Schools Slated for Closure
Ricardo Lowe, MS
Following community conversations hosted by the Austin Independent School District (AISD), parents and community members have expressed concern that their neighborhood schools would be sold to developers, furthering displacement in vulnerable areas. The lack of clarity about AISD's intended use of these facilities, coupled with the district's budget deficit, increases this anxiety. In an effort to provide transparency between AISD and the community, IUPRA has gathered appraisal values for each school slated for closure or consolidation. In the event that further community conversations are held to address how facilities will be repurposed, it is imperative that community members and the district are aware of the value of these facilities.

Issue Brief: Using Research to Shape School Consolidations
Annika Olson, MA, MPP
One of the policy recommendations in IUPRA's brief to the Austin Independent School District (AISD) was to consult more research on school closures and consolidations (see below). In this issue brief, we give an overview of research that demonstrates both the pros and cons of school closures and consolidations on a national scale. We also look at how specific applications in Austin would impact Black students. While there can be benefits to school consolidation as a money-saving strategy, the research shows its effects are mostly negative and points to disproportionate impact on Black communities.

Policy Brief: Using Data to Inform the AISD School Changes Strategy
Annika Olson, MA, MPP; Ricardo Lowe, MS
In light of AISD’s proposed School Changes strategy, IUPRA conducted policy research on both the effectiveness and impact of school closures as well as the disproportionate displacement of Black students in Austin that would occur as a result of such closures. This policy brief includes an overview of the key data and our recommendations to AISD in advance of its vote on the proposed strategy.

Destruction in the Name of Progress: Austin's Impact on the Local Black Population
Kevin Foster, PhD
How has Austin policy-making historically impacted local Black communities? This new series of briefs looks to the past to understand how policy has shaped outcomes and realities for Black people in Austin today. In Part I of this series, IUPRA Faculty Fellow Kevin Foster, PhD explains interest convergence theory and how Austin decision-making bodies have repeatedly and predictably harmed Black people and communities; not as a prime policy goal, but as a byproduct of efforts to ensure quality of life for the White population. It is important to understand this reality in order to make policy decisions today that serve all Austinites well.

The State of Black Lives in Texas: Income & Poverty Report
Michele Rountree, PhD; Rosanna Barrett, PhD; Lauren Lluveras, JD; Nino Rodriguez, PhD; Richa Gupta, MPH; Ryan Carlino
This report is the fifth in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas. Covering the topic of income and poverty, the authors examine the causes and outcomes of income inequality and unemployment for Black Texans. They do this by discussing the historical background of poverty in the U.S., major factors that cause income instability for Black people, and examining data on the racial wealth gap.

The State of Black Lives in Texas: Criminal Justice Report
Shavonne Henderson, JD; Naomi Reed, PhD; Nolan Krueger, PhD Candidate; Miranda Badgett, MSSW/MPAff Candidate
This report is the fourth in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas. The main policy issue covered in this report is the age of criminal responsibility as an adult in Texas. The authors use a mixed methods approach to better understand the issue, from both a micro and macro perspective. Legal analysis, historical narrative, descriptive statistics, and demographic analysis all help illuminate the issue of raising the age for adult criminal responsibility in Texas.

The State of Black Lives in Texas: Health Report
Michele A Rountree, PhD; Rosanna Barrett, PhD; Lauren Lluveras, JD; Rayven Plaza, PhD
This report is the third in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas. It covers many of the disparate health outcomes experienced by Black Texans, the complex drivers of health inequities operating independently and concurrently, the breadth of health disparities comparable to other race/ethnicities, and crucial programmatic strategies, interventions and policy recommendations necessary for eliminating health disparities.

 

2018

Disparate Rates of Black Women Dying: At Birth and Postpartum Period
Michele A Rountree, PhD; Tracie A Lowe, PhD
This policy brief presents and explains the data that shows Black women experiencing negative maternal health outcomes at disproportionate rates, in Texas and throughout the United States. Based on the research done for this brief, there are three key policy recommendations included to help healthcare institutions in Texas better serve and save Black mothers.

Issue Brief - Payday Lending among Communities Impacted by Natural Disaster
Lauren Lluveras, JD
In this issue brief, the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis reviewed the following questions of whether communities recently impacted by a natural disaster (1) are more likely to seek out loans from payday lenders; (2) what the payday lender restrictions landscape looks like among the 44 Texas municipalities who have passed regulatory ordinances regarding these services; and (3) whether these consumers would benefit from an annual interest cap of 36 percent.

The State of Black Lives in Texas: Housing Report
Lauren Lluveras, JD; Susan Phan, MPAff
This report is the second in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas. The housing report takes a look at the impact of the recession, housing segregation and concentrated poverty, the affordable housing crisis, homelessness, and homeownership barriers. The authors provide an analysis of the available data in these areas, followed by key policy recommendations and priorities.

The State of Black Lives in Texas: Education Report
kihana miraya ross, PhD; Kevin Cokley, PhD; Ryan Carlino; Susan Phan; Miranda Badgett; Jacob Hood
This report is the first in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas. The education report takes a look at four key education issues and how current policy and realities in Texas affect Black students: discipline and punishment, charter schools, standardized testing, and the Top Ten Percent Law. The authors provide an analysis of the available data in these areas, followed by key policy recommendations and priorities.

Fall 2016 & Spring 2017 IUPRA Poll: Criminal Justice Report
Richa Gupta, MPH; Lauren Lluveras, JD; Andrea Charles, MSW
This report contains the results of both the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 IUPRA Poll questions on criminal justice issues. The data is presented graphically and analyzed, and the fall and spring data are compared. There are also two discussion pieces, focusing mostly on concealed carry licenses and carrying guns on public university campuses.

Fall 2016 & Spring 2017 IUPRA Poll: Education Report
Richa Gupta, MPH; Kevin Cokley, PhD
This report contains the results of both the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 IUPRA Poll questions on education issues. The data is presented graphically and analyzed, and the fall and spring data are compared. There is also a discussion piece, focusing mostly on ESAs and the 10% rule for Texas colleges.

Those Who Stayed: The Impact of Gentrification on Longstanding Residents of East Austin Residents
Eric Tang, PhD; Bisola Falola, PhD
This report documents the voices of longstanding residents in East Austin on the impact gentrification has had on their neighborhood. 74% had an overall negative perception of the change. Main issues included a loss of sense of community and increasing property taxes. An addendum to this report was released in May 2018. The addendum further explored data about the amount of children vs. the amount of dogs in the neighborhood. You can read the addendum here.

 

2017

Fall 2016 & Spring 2017 IUPRA Poll: Racial Climate Report
Richa Gupta, MPH; Samantha White-Wilson; Naomi Reed, PhD
Results and analysis of results of Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 IUPRA polls on racial climate. The poll was conducted with registered Texas voters, oversampling Black voters to generate more reliable estimates by race. Health care questions looked at voters' attitudes at the overall racial climate in the U.S. The report also compares the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 results.

Fall 2016 & Spring 2017 IUPRA Poll: Health Report
Richa Gupta, MPH; Samantha White-Wilson; Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD
Results and analysis of results of Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 IUPRA polls on health care. The poll was conducted with registered Texas voters, oversampling Black voters to generate more reliable estimates by race. Health care questions looked at voters' attitudes regarding their own health care experiences as well as their understanding of the Family and Medical Leave Act. The report also compares the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 results.

 

2016

Eliminating Hate Incidence on the University of Texas at Austin Campus
Loyce Gayo; Jonathan Lin Davis; Amanda Woog, JD; Naomi Reed, PhD; Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD
This report puts forward the proposed hate crime policy, including specific recommendations on reporting, response, and student needs. This policy grew out of work done in two previous IUPRA reports, found below.

Designing an Effective Hate Crime/Bias Tolerance Policy: Identifying Critical Success Factors
Jonathan Lin Davis; Loyce Gayo; Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD
This methods report outlines critical success indicators used to evaluate existing hate crime/bias tolerance policies within several peer institutions in order to next draft a potential hate crime policy (see above). The indicators were incorporation, language, sanction, placement, dissemination and reporting, education, and update.

Critical Race Analysis of Student Policy on Race Relations
Loyce Gayo; Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Naomi Reed, PhD; Jonathan Lin Davis
After a hate crime to a Black student took place near the University of Texas at Austin campus, IUPRA conducted a policy analysis to offer insight on how racist actions are dealt with at the University. The research found that UT had limited relevant policies and was the only institution among its National Comparison Group with no official hate crime or bias tolerance policy. This report also analyzes the Student Policy on Race Relations policy that does exist.

Those Who Left: Austin's Declining African American Population
Eric Tang, PhD; Bisola Falola, PhD
Following the 2014 Outlier report that showed African American population decline in Austin for two decades, this report explores gentrification that happened and is happening in East Austin specifically by interviewing displaced African American families. Through these interviews, two major forces came up: unaffordable housing and dissatisfaction with Austin's public schools.

Texas Custodial Death Report: Police, Jail, and Prison Deaths, 2005-2015
Amanda Woog, JD
This Texas Justice Initiative report introduces the project's database of custodial deaths reported in Texas from 2005-2015, giving a high-level view and drawing out significant data points and observations. The main observations include: Disparities in Texas' criminal justice system translate into racial disparities in custodial deaths; Current pre-trial and bail practices keep thousands of people in jails without conviction of a crime, meaning 76% of those who died in jail had not been convicted of a crime; 41% of people who died in jail were reported to have appeared intoxicated, exhibited mental health problems, or exhibited medical problems upon entry into the facility.

Are You Listening? Community Impact Statement: Volume 1
Leonie Jones
In the U.S., Black women are more likely to experience premature birth or loss of a newborn than any other race or ethnicity, and studies have shown that stress and racism do have a negative effect on birth oucomes. This report interviews Black women in Austin who are pregnant or have recently given birth across a range of socio-economic backgrounds, sharing their views on community, prenatal care, childcare, unique challenges Black women face, and Austin's needs.

IUPRA Poll: Texas Voters' Attitudes about Health Care
These are results of a statewide poll about Texans' attitudes toward health care. The poll looked at registered voters' views on and access to mental health care and dental care.
DOWNLOAD: Summary | Graphs | Memo

IUPRA Poll: Texas Voters' Attitudes about Education
These are results of a statewide poll about Texans' attitudes toward education. The poll looked at registered voters' views on the quality of schools, Common Core, religious-based explanations discussed in public education, discussing race in public education, formation of charter schools, tax credits for scholarship donations to send children of low-income parents to private schools, and policies that prevent racially disproportionate school suspensions.
DOWNLOAD: Summary | Graphs | Memo

IUPRA Poll: Texas Voters' Attitudes about Police and Criminal Justice
These are results of a statewide poll about Texans' attitudes toward police and criminal justice. The poll looked at registered voters' views on institutional racism among police, mandatory diversity training for police officers, collecting and separating statistics of police killings by race, and the investigation of officer involved killings. The data compares the views of different racial/ethnic groups as well as different political affiliations.
DOWNLOAD: Summary | Graphs | Memo

IUPRA Poll: Texas Voters' Attitudee about Gun Laws
These are results of a statewide poll about Texans' attitudes toward gun laws. The poll looked at registered voters views on laws preventing those with mental illnesses from purchasing guns, views on licensed open carry of handguns and open carry of handguns in holsters, and handguns on public university campuses. The data compares the views of different racial/ethnic groups as well as different political affiliations.
DOWNLOAD: Summary | Graphs | Memo

Discipline Disparities for Black Girls with Disabilities in TX Schools
Karen Moran Jackson, PhD; Leonie Jones
There is even less data about discipline rates for Black girls with disabilities than discipline rates for Black girls in general. The data in this report show that Black girls with disabilities are more likely to be served under IDEA than Section 504, and that students under IDEA are less likely to participate and more likely to be segregated. Additionally, discipline data under IDEA showed Black girls overrepresented in most discipline categories.

Officer-Involved Shootings Report #3 - Update: Developments in HB 1036 Implementation and Reporting
Amanda Woog, JD
This report was an update on the initial 2015 reports covering HB 1036. There were 94 reports submitted in 2015, documeting 69 injuries or deaths, of which 65 involved an individual being shot by a peace officer, with 24 deaths. This report analyzes those incidents more closely as well as covering continued compliance issues. 

 

2015

Officer-Involved Shootings Report #2 - Update: Developments in HB 1036 Implementation and Reporting
Amanda R. Woog, JD
This report is an update on the initial report introducing HB 1036 (see below). From the start of implementation to the publishing of this report, there were 36 reported incidents and 12 deaths. The report also briefly reviewed some ongoing compliance issues with the bill.

Implementation of the New Officer-Involved Shooting Reporting Requirements
Amanda R. Woog, JD
This report explains HB 1036, a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to report shooting incidents involving peace officers. The report goes over initial issues of implementation and explained the public spreadsheet tracking these reports maintained by IUPRA.

Black Girls Face Disproptionate Discipline in Texas Schools
Karen Moran Jackson PhD; Renée Hatcher, JD; Leonie Jones
Nationally, Black girls are suspended six times the rate of white girls. Disproportionate school discipline leads to less instructional time for Black girls, increasing the risk of dropping out of school. Texas studies of the five largest school districts showed similar disproportionalities. This brief shows this Texas data and gives some general recommendations.

Texas School Financing Continues a Regressive Trend
Karen Moran Jackson, PhD; Victor O. Obaseki, JD
This brief explains and analyzes CSHB1759, an attempt to improve equity and increase funding in schools, after the state school finance system was found unconstitutional. However, the bill eliminated the Cost of Education Index instead of updating it, and failed to increase special allotments for students with exceptional needs or otherwise increase educational fairness. This anlaysis shows that while all district types would have seen an increase in revenue, the pattern of high and low districts would remain the same, with districts in central cities and major urban areas receiving the least funding even though they have the highest student poverty rates.

Documenting Racial Disparities and Disproportionality
Jonathan L. Davis, MPAff; Karen Moran Jackson, PhD
Recent race-related events show racial disparity and injustice in our country, but many whites don't acknowledge that racial disparities are caused by racial bias; even though the Department of Justice found that racial disparity in Ferguson was caused by racial bias and discrimination. This brief argues that governement and societal systems have been discrimantory, disproportionally affecting African Americans. This argument is supported by documented discrimination within education, economic, legal, and health care systems.

Post-Legislative Session Report: Primary and Secondary Education
Dongmei Li, PhD; Victor O. Obaseki, JD; Karen Moran Jackson, PhD
This report explores two bills: HB 4, which passed, and SB 4, which didn't, and how students of color will fare under HB 4 and may fare under lesislation similar to SB 4. HB 4 provides additional funding to prekindergardent programs that meet certain requirements, and SB 4 would have used tax incentives to coax private donors into funding scholarships for students trying to leave failing public schools.

Post-Legislative Session Report: Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Victor O. Obaseki, JD; Leonie Jones, BA; Karen Moran Jackson, PhD
This report analyzes three bills passed that should help reduce problems that disproportinally affect Black or African American communities: HB 2398, which decriminalized truancy offenses for juveniles, replaced criminal truancy penalties with civil penalties for minors, and established judicial donation trust funds; HB 2684, which establishes a curriculum and required training for school district peace officers and school resource officers; and HB 1036, to comprehensively track shootings involving Texas pace officers.

Examining the Texas Prison Reform Model: How Texas is Maintaining Racial Disparity and Mass Incarceration
Caitlin M. Dunklee, MPAff; Rebecca A. Larsen, MSSW, MPAff
The Texas model is often seen as a good example of prison reform, showing that the growth of incarceration in Texas slowed. This study analyzes findings that Texas failed to reduce the number of people incarcerated per year or decrease racial disproportionality. Texas still incarcerates more people than any state. Additionally, a Pew study found that states that reduced incarceration the most experience the greatest decline of crime rate.

The Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities: Spearheading Texas's Ongoing Fight Against Institutional Racism and Other Causes of Inequity
Victor O. Obaseki, JD; Renée Hatcher, JD
This brief examines the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities (CEDD) and institutional racism, looking at the history of CEDD and its work in relation to institutional racism. It also uses research and data to show that institutional racism exists in Texas state agencies, though it is not the only cause of disproportionalities and disparities.

Single-Sex Public Education and African American Males: A Response to Racial and Gender Inequity
Kevin Cokley, PhD; Steven Stone, MEd
Black male students are disproportionately suspended, expelled from school, tracked into less challenging courses, and more likely placed into classes for students with intellectual and learning disabilities than in classes for gifted and talented students. Single-sex schools have been proposed as one solution to improving these outcomes for Black male students. This paper examines research and arguments for and against this option, concluding that this does seem to be a viable option.

Southeast Gerogetown Needs Assessment: Documenting Resident Stories and Community Conditions
Georgetown Health Foundation and The Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis
This needs assessment was commissioned by the Georgetown Health Foundation in the face of unprecedented population growth and demographic changes in Georgetown. It was conducted in Southeast Georgetown, focusing on the low-income community and their voices. Critical needs that came out of this included public transportation, affordable housing, access to health foods and nutrition programs, language access in schools, mental health and bullying, reframing of power differentials in services, and access to parks and after school programs.

The Campus Climate for University of Texas at Austin Faculty
Germine Awad, PhD; Erin Reilly, MEd; Richard Reddick, EdD; Kevin Cokley, PhD
This project was commissioned by the Office of the President at The University of Texas at Austin to examine faculty and staff experiences and perception of campus climate. This report covers the faculty analysis only. Overall perceptions were found to be moderate to positive, though differences in perceptions were found when data disaggregated by race/ethnicity, gender, and appointment status; women and minorities reported less satisfaction on many indicators.

 

2014

A Stagnant Minimum Wage: A Form of Modern-Day Slavery?
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Kathryn A. Freeman, JD
A raised minimum wage would affect 1 in 3 Texas workers, as the state with the largest share of hourly paid workers. The minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009, while costs of living have not, increasing income gap and dependency on government services. This pattern can be traced back to the earliest form of wage policy, slavery; though workers are now paid, they are forced to live in substandard conditions. Many states have raised the minimum wage, and so far data shows improved economic conditions as a result.

Outlier: The Case of Austin's Declining African-American Population
Eric Tang, PhD; Chunhui Ren, PhD
Of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Austin, TX is only city experiencing net loss in African American population. In fact, from 2000-2010, it was the only major U.S. city to experience a double digit rate of general population growth coincident with African American population decline. And, African Americans did not choose to leave Austin so much as they were compelled to leave by structural forces creating inequalities. This report delves into the background of why and how this is happening. It is the first in a series on gentrification in East Austin.

 

2013

Mental Health Education in African American Divinity/Theology Schools
Albert Thompkins, PhD; King Davis, PhD
In times of mental health issues or crises, 75% African Americans rely on clergy rather than psychiatric help or medication; but this study finds that almost all African American divinity/theology schools, and most divinity/theology schools in general, are seriously lacking or fragmented in mental health education and consider it secondary. Read the report for policy recommendations to improve mental health education in African American divinity schools.

The Lives of Blacks in Texas: Income and Poverty
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Jemel Aguilar, PhD; Chunhui Ren, PhD; Jennifer Alexander
Major findings discussed included: 2000 & 2010 African Americans had lowest overall median income of Texas major racial groups; 5 Texas counties with 5000+ African American population experience income decline; African Americans and Hispanics overrepresented in Texas poor population; 2000 & 2010 more than 70% of African American female-headed households in poverty.

The Lives of Blacks in Texas: Housing Conditions
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Seth A. Kessler, MPA; Chunhui Ren, PhD; Jennifer Alexander; Jemel Aguilar, PhD
Housing insecurity has impacted all Texans, but with a marked decline in African American population. This brief explores homeownership rates and housing tenure; home values of Afrian American homeowners; and housing cost burdens.

Post-Legislative Session Report: Primary and Secondary Education
Victor O. Obaseki, JD; Seth A. Kessler, MPA; Kathryn A. Freeman, JD
This report explores two bills: HB 5 which changed high school graduation requirements and reduced number of required state secondary school exams; and SB 2 which increased number of contracts for charter schools. These bills led to questions of how students will deal with new curriculum requirements and whether Texas charter schools are better than traditional schools.

Post-Legislative Session Report: Health and Human Services
Victor O. Obaseki, JD; Seth A. Kessler, MPA; Kathryn A. Freeman, JD
The major health and human services issues in the 83rd session were Medicaid expansion and abortion. Gov. Rick Perry and many legislators are against Medicaid expansion and it will not likely happen. Additionally, abortions may become more difficult to receive.

Post-Legislative Session Report: Personal Finance
Kathryn A. Freeman, JD; Victor O. Obaseki, JD; Seth A. Kessler, MPA
This report looks at finance bills filed or pass in 83rd legislative session, considering Texas performs well financially based on unemployment rate, but not by many other indicators that affect low-income Texans. Bills were passed giving tax relief to businesses, but measures to improve financial stability of low-income Texans didn't gain widespread support or were vetoed.

 

2012

Do Vouchers Create More Inequality? Lessons from Universal Implementation in Chile
Jaime Portales, PhD; Julian Vasquez Heilig PhD
Vouchers are gaining promience in Texas and U.S. education policy discourse. In other countries, it has exacerbated segregation, showed varied achievement results (U.S. programs failed to increase achievement), and decreased public school enrollment paired with increased negative image.

The Lives of Blacks in Texas: Demographic Trends in the African American Population, 1950-2010
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Jemel P. Aguilar, PhD; Jennifer Alexander; Chunhui Ren, PhD
The African American population in Texas has changed significantly from 1950-2010. Looking at these changes through a racial lens can help inform future policy in Texas. This report analyzes and compares U.S. census and ACS data.

Women of Color and Minimum Wage: A Policy of Racial, Gender, and Economic Discrimination
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD
African American and Hispanic single mothers working full-time, low-wage jobs experience consistent poverty or threat of poverty. U.S. minimum wage policy disproportionately affects women, especially women of color. Texas has the most low-wage workers in the country and ranks sixth in people living in poverty.

HIV Testing in State Prisons: A Call for Provider-Initiated Routine HIV Screening Policy
Jemel P. Aguilar, PhD
HIV is four times more prevalent in incarcerated populations, so to decrease the spread of HIV, policy should focus on that population. The WHO and CDC recommend routine testing and early treatment, but U.S. healthcare doesn't effectively help incarcerated populations.

Is Texas Leading Its Peers and the Nation? A Decadal Analysis of Educational Data
Julian Vasquez Heilig, PhD; Su Jin Jez, PhD; Richard J. Reddick, EdD
The Texas education system is often touted as a miracle in regard to test-based accountability based on national measures, but evidence actually shows trends of decline or stasis relative to all states. The student achievement gap is closing, but overall performance lags.