Policy

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Raise Your Hand Texas believes through equity and innovation we can create a world-class school system that fuels a brighter future for all Texans.

Where We Stand

We have established seven core policy priorities — our true north — that guide our long-term work strengthening and supporting public schools in Texas.

2021 Legislative Priorities

We must continue to invest in high-quality programs, enhance public accountability, and ensure our teachers have the support they need.

Public Dollars Must Remain in Public Schools

Only public schools, which educate 94 percent of students in Texas, can effectively and efficiently meet the state’s demands for a well-prepared workforce and well-informed citizenry.

Vouchers divert scarce public education funds to private schools, which are not required to comply with federal protections for students with disabilities or report and track spending and student performance.

We support keeping education tax dollars in public schools and investing in quality public school choice and innovative programs.

Vouchers reduce equitable access to educational opportunity, weaken rights for students with disabilities, and expose taxpayers to fraud. The Legislature should reject any type of voucher.

Money Matters in Education

A high-quality and well-funded public education system is essential for every child to reach their full potential.

Texas ranks in the bottom ten states in per-student funding with a student population that is over 60 percent low socioeconomic.

We support a public school finance system that provides equitable outcomes for all students regardless of race, socioeconomic status, language proficiency, disability, or zip code.

One Pager - where we stand on public school funding

In 2019, the Texas public education system received a much-needed funding boost. House Bill 3 (HB 3) made investments in teacher pay raises, full-day pre-kindergarten, funding for an optional extended-year program, and additional dollars for low-income students. These new policies will positively affect our teachers, students, and economy for generations to come, but Texas still has work to do. It still ranks in the bottom 10 states in per-student funding.

Teachers Make the Difference

The quality of our education system and the long-term viability of our economy are inextricably linked to the effectiveness and diversity of our teachers.

Inadequate pay and a lack of respect for teachers have caused fewer young people to enter the profession in recent years. Compounding this challenge is the need for better teacher preparation and less reliance on alternative certification programs.

We support enhancing teaching as a career, attracting and preparing a strong teacher workforce, and retaining quality educators in the field.

  • Increase transparency and accountability in the state’s educator data system.
  • Support research-based improvements in Texas’ teacher preparation programs, including enhanced clinical practice prior to certification.
  • Support programs and practices proven to recruit diverse candidates into the field.
Strengthening the Teacher Pipeline 2019 Position Paper
Educator Data System One Pager

Serving the Whole Child Promotes Learning

Every Texas student needs a safe and healthy educational environment in order to meet their full academic potential.

Texas is ranked 41st in overall child well-being, including indicators related to economic well-being, education, health, and certain family and community traits.

We support meeting the needs of individual students through high-quality pre-Kindergarten, mental wellness services, and other wraparound supports.

Full-time Virtual Schools

Though some have pushed for the expansion of full-time virtual vendors, the continued lackluster performance of these programs shows that they are not a good solution for the overwhelming majority of students.

One Pager - where we stand on public school funding

Full-day Pre-K

Protect funding for full-day pre-K that was part of HB 3 (2019) so students may close learning gaps and have a level playing field for success.

Pre-K in Texas

Raise Your Hand Texas believes all children, regardless of family background, deserve a fair shot at success in school and in life. Full-day, quality pre-k gives them that opportunity.

Blended Learning

Blended learning combines the best of classroom teaching and online learning. Teachers use data and classroom technology to personalize instruction for every student.

One Pager Blended Learning

Student Growth and Performance Should Be Measured Fairly

Texas public schools should be held to appropriate standards of academic performance by an accountability system that accurately reflects the continuous improvement of students.

The state’s accountability (A-F) system is disproportionately based on a single end-of-year test that does not adequately consider a student’s academic growth. Additionally, it is the only measure of accountability ratings in grades 3-8.

We support real-time assessments that inform instruction, measure individual progress, and serve as one of multiple measures reflecting a student’s entire educational experience.

One Pager Accountability

As Texas’ public education system adjusts to new instructional approaches and deals with technology issues due to COVID-19, state policymakers must take this time to reevaluate whether our accountability system appropriately measures all the factors of an effective education.

HB 4242 Testimony (2019) Regarding STAAR

Texas Communities Deserve an Equal Playing Field

Charter schools and traditional schools should be held to the same high standards while serving all students within their communities.

Charter schools were founded on the promise of fostering locally developed, innovative approaches to educating children, especially with our most at-risk students, and some charter schools remain true to this vision. Unfortunately, for many Texas communities, the rapid expansion of charter schools has resulted in taxpayer inefficiencies, unequal access for students, and a parallel system of publicly funded schools.

We support equitable funding as well as expansion and accountability policies that require publicly funded schools to equally serve all students in their communities. All schools should promote local innovation and respond to the communities in which they operate.

One Pager Charter Schools

In addition to a funding advantage, charters, unlike traditional school districts, are not required by law to accept all students. There should be a level playing field for all public schools.

SB 1882 District Partnership Map

This map shows the average per-student increase a district would receive if it were funded like a charter school, including student and program weights.

1882-map

Charter Campuses in Texas

The charter expansion map tracks the growth of charter schools in Texas from 1997 through 2019.

Growth of charter campuses in Texas map
New Charter School Testimony

Prepared Students Ensure a Brighter Future For Our State

Texans deserve a public school system that creates a highly skilled workforce capable of meeting tomorrow’s challenges.

Only 20 percent of Texas 8th grade students in 2006 graduated from college by 2017. As such, Texas struggles to keep pace with current workforce demands and cannot solely rely on importing talent from other states.

We support research-based pathways to meet individual student needs as well as increased support for transitioning into college, career, or the military.

Michelle Smith, Ph.D.
Vice President of Policy & Advocacy
[email protected]
(512)617-2134

Bob Popinski
Director of Policy
[email protected]
(512)617-2553

David Anderson
General Counsel and Policy Analyst
[email protected]
(512)617-2129

Charles Gaines
Director of Government Relations
[email protected]
(512)610-5398

@RYHTexas

During trying times, Texans are building a stronger future for our kids.