2019 Session Toolkit

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The 86th Legislative Session was critical for strengthening public education in Texas. Here is where you will find our latest and greatest advocacy tools, including graphics and reports we encouraged everyone to use and share. Bookmark this page and check it often. Let’s act now for the future of our schools, students, and the state of Texas!

Invest More in Texas Public Schools

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Test-based Funding

School finance policy that provides funding to K-12 students based on their performance on a high-stakes test has no basis in research. Funding any part of our school system based on student performance on a test, or “outcomes-based” funding, would create inequities and unintended funding consequences.

Smith: The High Stakes of Being in Third Grade

Our schools should not be funded based on the performance of a third grader on one day in May, especially on a test with as many trouble signs as STAAR. The state’s school finance system is not and should not be punitive.

End of 86th Session Checklist

There is still work to be done on HB3. Tell lawmakers to remain focused on full-day funding for pre-K, flexible funding for districts, opposition to third grade test-based funding, and tax relief that the state can afford.

HB 3 Side-by-Side

This document compares and contrasts the school finance proposals by the Texas House and Senate. It is current as of May 25 and will be updated as bills are considered and amended.

HB 3 and SB 4 Testimony

Bob Popinski, Director of Policy at Raise Your Hand, testifies before the Senate Education Committee on April 25, 2019.


This talking points document includes facts and information you can use in conversations with lawmakers about funding for full-day pre-K, flexible district funding, test-based funding, and affordable tax relief.

The school finance system is broken and no longer meets the state’s growing demands. Additional investment is needed now so our public schools have the resources to prepare all students for college and career opportunities. Moreover, funding any part of our school system based on student performance on a test, or “outcomes-based” funding, would create inequities and unintended funding consequences.

Fund Pre-K the Right Way

Greatness Starts in Pre-K Video

From scales to symphonies. From counting to calculus. The seeds of greatness are planted early. High-quality, full-day pre-K provides an environment where the seeds of greatness can take root. Where talent, innovation, ingenuity, and critical thinking are nurtured and developed.

Despite overwhelming research that full-day pre-k paves the way for student success, the state’s lack of full-day funding and inconsistent support has short-changed an early learning foundation for kids who need it most. It’s time to fund pre-K the right way.

The Power of Pre-K Video Series

It’s not just students, parents, and educators who recognize the power of high-quality pre-kindergarten, both to building the foundation for learning and for leveling the playing field among student groups for kindergarten readiness. 

Our new video series features prominent Texans from a variety of industries and perspectives, all speaking to the importance of high-quality, full-day pre-K to Texas students, the educational and workforce pipelines, and the future economy of Texas.

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Prevent School Vouchers

School Choice Spinner

International studies. Career and technology pathways. Dual language elementary education. And on and on.

Texas public schools are dynamic and diverse, and they continue to add new options and innovative programs to meet the needs and passions of Texas students, the future of our state.

Our new “school choice spinner” features just a few examples among thousands of public school choice options available to Texas students and families.

First, Mr. Voucher tried to convince Texans that that Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), tax credit scholarships, and other voucher schemes are good, but instead ended up being schooled about how vouchers hurt Texas students, schools, and taxpayers. Next, he tried to convince Texans that any and all choice is good for students, and again was schooled about the importance of quality school choice–choice with transparency and accountability–when public dollars are used. In the third installment, a new monster voucher arrived on the scene – FrankenVoucher – and he was twice as devastating.

Research shows school vouchers do not deliver improved outcomes or educational innovation. Vouchers lack transparency in the use of taxpayer dollars and public accountability for educational outcomes.

Vouchers reduce fair access to educational opportunity, weaken rights for students with disabilities, and expose taxpayers to fraud. Only district and charter schools can deliver on the promise of quality school choice with both transparency and accountability in the use of public dollars.

Loss of Rights in the Name of Choice:

The Dangers of Special Education Vouchers

There exists a national political effort to promote traditional vouchers, Education Savings Account (ESA) vouchers, and tax credit scholarship vouchers in the name of assisting students with disabilities. While promoted as a solution for families dissatisfied with services in the public school system, in reality, special education vouchers are employed as a political gateway to universal vouchers.

Vouchers for students with special needs represent a dangerous proposition that can lead to a loss of rights and quality educational opportunities.

Other Critical Issues

To serve the diverse and ever-changing needs of students and to support a strong future workforce, districts need freedom from unnecessary state mandates to innovate and collaborate.

The effective use of technology in Texas public schools has the potential to transform teaching and learning, and improve student achievement. Blended learning is personalized, data driven, and encourages student ownership of their learning.

To meet the growing needs of our student population, Texas must recruit diverse and high-achieving students into quality teacher preparation programs. Effective recruitment requires transparent and accessible data that identifies quality within the 131 teacher preparation programs in Texas.

Dual credit courses provide students an efficient and proven path toward career and college, with benefits for families, employers, and ultimately our entire state. We need a process that allows students and families to better understand and benefit from these programs.

Full-time virtual education relies on technology, but does not provide students quality interactions with teachers and the school environment. The poor performance of some full-time virtual education programs demonstrates it is not always an effective approach to digital learning.

HB 4242 Testimony

Raise Your Hand Texas submitted written testimony to the House Public Education Committee on April 9 regarding STAAR assessment and accountability issues.

2019 Public Education Perceptions Poll

New Raise Your Hand Texas Poll Reveals Texans’ Perceptions About Public Education

Media coverage and political rhetoric surrounding the need to focus on education issues has ramped up over the last year. But are Texans in agreement? What do they think needs the most immediate attention? And who do they think is responsible for addressing the issues they care most about?

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In the poll, conducted in January 2019 by Outreach Strategists, Texans say education is the most important issue for this legislative session, with more funding, higher teacher pay, and reduced focus on high-stakes testing ranking as the top interests. More than 70 percent say not enough money is being spent on education in Texas and 78 percent oppose increases in funding tied to student performance on state standardized tests. The overwhelming majority of Texans also believe pre-K is important to ensuring school readiness and leveling the playing field, and that the state, not local communities, should fund full-day pre-K for at-risk students.

Interactive Maps

District Partnership Agreements allow school districts to partner with nonprofit corporations, governmental bodies and institutions of higher education (including those holding state charters) to operate a district campus and receive the higher charter-level funding for district students.


The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation is reinventing public education from the inside, for the future, by developing and strengthening school leaders and teachers, engaging families in the educational experience, and advancing classroom learning with innovative instructional practices to benefit all students.

Full-day pre-K has a positive impact on kindergarten readiness. This is particularly true for pre-K eligible students, who made up more than 60 percent of the kindergarten population in the 2017-18 school year. Providing consistent formula funding for full-day pre-K ensures that all students are prepared for success in school and life.