Research & Data


The Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation (CSME) supports the research and evaluation efforts across all of CHILDREN AT RISK’s issue areas. 

Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation

The Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation (CSME) supports the research and evaluation efforts across all of CHILDREN AT RISK’s primary issue areas, centers, and policy initiatives.  CSME produces data tools to empower individuals with the information they need to drive and inform policy change.

Data-Driven Community Advocacy Tools

CSME designs and disseminates data-based research tools including:

  • Annual School Rankings
  • School data for parents through
  • Early education data and interactive maps

Research & Evaluation

CSME assesses the impact of policies and programs, resulting in evaluations including:

  • Nonprofit program evaluation
  • Corporate social investment reports
  • Community health needs assessments
  • Fiscal evaluations


CSME produces research-oriented publications including:

  • Growing Up in Houston
  • Growing Up in North Texas
  • The Journal of Applied Research on Children
  • The Journal of Family Strengths

Our Latest Research & Data Analysis

Investment & Innovation: Increasing Access to Quality, Affordable Child Care Before & During a Crisis

Exposure to high-quality early childhood education (ECE) is the foundation for future academic success, especially for children from low-income families. Increasing access to subsidized child care is one of the many pathways that Texas is utilizing to provide affordable early educational supports for children from low-income families. Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Workforce Commission...

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Access to Affordable High-Quality Child Care is Scarce

By Kaeleigh Hernandez, Early Childhood Education and Sara Moran, Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation  (Note: The analyses in this post uses data on child care centers from September 2019) Across Texas, nearly half of all child care providers accept subsidies - around 8,000 licensed child care centers and homes. However, many parents that qualify for subsidy care, have limited options of...

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Texas Child Care Desert Methodology

In recent years, the concept of food deserts - areas with little or no access to fresh foods - has been widely publicized and frequently studied. Borrowing from that concept, experts at Child Care Aware and Center for American Progress have coined the term “child care deserts” to identify another crucial commodity with limited availability. These child care deserts are areas where there is a...

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When Schools Close & Parents Lose Jobs, Kids Go Hungry

Food is one of the most basic needs, yet many families routinely struggle to access it. As of 2017, around 1 in 7 Texans reported experiencing food insecurity. With unemployment rising and many families losing income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this number has surely increased in recent months. Even if this spike in food insecurity is temporary, the impacts of lacking consistent access to...

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Educational Equity in the Digital Classroom: It is all about access

Forced adaptation is a concept in biology that describes the modification of an organism’s properties by imposing drastic changes to its environment. This may be done purposefully, to bring out characteristics deemed beneficial, such as improving the drought-resistance of a plant, but it can also result from extreme, sudden and lasting environmental changes. Only the most adaptable survive. Our...

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2020 Kroger School Food Rankings

Across Texas, over 3 million low-income students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals through federal programs such as the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.  For many of these children, meals eaten at school are the only substantial meals they will receive during the day.  As the novel coronavirus begins to affect communities in Texas, many school...

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What COVID-19 Means for Texas Children & Families

Amidst the closures and stop gaps in business as usual, our thoughts turn to the state, local, and community institutions grappling with how to keep Texas families safe and healthy. According to the most recently available census data, more than 1.5 million in Texas live in poverty. Another 1.3 million families teeter on the edge of poverty, where an unexpected expense, disruption in child care,...

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2019 State of Public Education

For the past thirteen years, CHILDREN AT RISK (C@R) has assigned A-F grades and ranked Texas public schools to help parents, educators, and community members better understand how their local schools are performing. C@R has used this annual “dive into the data” to spark conversations about the quality of our public schools and push the state to adopt more transparent and rigorous standards.

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Texas Continues to Recover: Two Years After Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall outside of Rockport, Texas on August 25, 2017, as a Category 4 storm.  The storm proceeded to affect 13 million people and cause $125 billion in damage. It produced a maximum inundation level of six to ten feet above ground level, a rainfall record of 48-60 inches, and resulted in a total of 94 deaths in Texas. As of June 2019, 60 counties in Texas remain disaster...

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