The following policy briefs serve as condensed analyses on issues impacting public education in Texas, and synthesize existing research, key data points, and interviews with stakeholder groups.

The Costly Shortcomings of School Vouchers: Inadequate Accountability, Transparency, and Results

When it comes to school vouchers, additional choices do not necessarily equate to higher quality choices. As explained in this brief, school voucher programs that operate outside the public system with limited or no transparency and no accountability requirements do not have a track record of success. Given the rate at which public schools continue to innovate and address the unique needs and talents of Texas students, school vouchers would only weaken the Texas educational landscape and undermine efforts to provide a high-quality, transparent, and accountable system for all Texas families.

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Parent Trigger Laws: Is the Game Worth the Candle?

While Texas has had a parent trigger law on the books since 2011, California remains the only state in the nation to have actual experience with the policy’s implementation and impacts. To assist Texas policymakers in evaluating proposals to modify Texas’ parent trigger statute, Raise Your Hand Texas developed this policy brief based both on available resources regarding California’s experience with parent trigger as well as first-hand interviews with key California stakeholders conducted by Raise Your Hand policy research staff.

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The Case Against School Vouchers – Companion to 2013 School Vouchers: The Myth and the Reality

In January 2013, Raise Your Hand Texas released a report titled School Vouchers: The Myth and the Reality, providing a comprehensive introduction to the issue, including voucher history and nomenclature, presence in other U.S. states, and an exploration of the myths and truths surrounding this controversial issue.1 This brief is a companion to the original report and provides an updated summary of the issues surrounding vouchers, including why they are an unproven education reform tool and an inefficient use of state resources.

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School Vouchers: The Myth and the Reality

It has been almost five decades since school vouchers, or public tax-funded subsidies for students to attend private schools, were first introduced as a public policy option. Despite millions of dollars spent by voucher proponents to convince lawmakers and the public that vouchers are the answer to the challenges our students face, the public school community claims that “school vouchers still remain controversial, unproven, and unpopular.” So why, after five decades of debate, does this issue draw so much attention, with local, state and national politicians taking strong positions on opposite sides?

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Virtual Schools in Texas: Good for Kids or Merely Good for Profit?

Few Texans are aware that their tax dollars go to fund an online learning universe, one that offers classes to third graders, high school seniors and even students who never attend a brick-and-mortar school. This ever-growing part of our public education system, referred to as virtual education, functions in large part below the radar, with little known about its operations and outcomes.

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