TCEE Hosts Statewide Smarter Texas Conference June 16-18, 2014

TCEE will again host its annual conference at the beautiful Hotel Contessa in San Antonio. 

The Hotel Contessa

The workshop for elementary teachers and supervisors will be June 16-17 and the secondary educator workshop will be June 17-18, 2014.

The conference will offer lessons and strategies for K to 12 math, K to 12 social studies, secondary career and economics educators.

Smarter Texas State Conference Flyer

TCEE’s Adopt a Teacher Program Helps Teachers Attend the Smarter Texas Conference

Conference Schedule

Preliminary Schedule for Smarter Texas Conference 2014

Conference Registration

Conference Registration by Credit/Debit Card

Conference Registration by Mail

Hotel Reservations

Hotel Reservation Link

Conference Proposals

Application for Presenter Proposals and Exhibitors



New Study Points to Promising Classroom Financial Education Strategy

Amarillo school district one of two sites for national study

As organizations nationwide commemorate Financial Capability Month, the results of a first-of-its-kind study exploring the impact of school-based financial education and account access in elementary schools underscore the promising benefits early financial education can have on academic performance and student attitudes toward saving money.

With support from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, OpportunityTexas—an initiative of the Center for Public Policy Priorities and RAISE Texas—partnered with the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Texas Council on Economic Education to explore the combination of elementary school-based financial education and savings account access to better understand how to teach money management skills to students.

The study tested the effect of classroom-based financial education and access to a bank or credit union branch in school on students’ financial knowledge, behavior and attitudes.

Overall, the study’s results were encouraging for this hands-on approach:

  • Even relatively brief classroom financial education significantly improved student financial knowledge and the effects of the education persisted up to a year later.
  • Both the financial education and access to in-school savings accounts improved students’ attitudes toward saving and about financial institutions.
  • A student with access to banking in his or her school was more likely to have a savings account than a student who did not.
  • A $25 “seed” deposit, which was randomly offered to students to encourage them to open an account, increased the likelihood a student opened an account by 18 percent.

Half of the 2,500 fourth-grade students of the Amarillo Independent School District—one of two school districts nationally that participated in the study—were given the opportunity to open savings accounts through Happy State Bank’s in-school banking program, with $25 seed deposits randomly assigned to encourage student enrollment, which were provided by the Amarillo Area Foundation.

The study provided a great opportunity to get feedback on Texas’ new K-8 personal financial education math curriculum, passed in 2011, which goes into effect this fall and to understand whether connecting the curriculum with student account access enhances student learning.

“We are happy and honored to be a partner in this project. Our desire is that kids and their families acquire the financial skills necessary to be successful with their money,” said J. Pat Hickman, Happy State Bank Chairman and CEO.

“This ground-breaking research provides promising evidence for the impact of school-based financial education and account access on students’ academic performance and attitudes about saving,” said Laura Rosen, OpportunityTexas coordinator.  “The findings make the case for expanding the opportunity for Texas students to open savings accounts in connection with Texas’ new K-8 personal financial literacy standards.”

In Texas, the findings have prompted OpportunityTexas to launch the Texas Children’s Savings Partnership, envisioned to empower all Texas families to open savings accounts for postsecondary education in connection with Texas’ new personal financial education curriculum. OpportunityTexashas created a task force of financial institution and education stakeholders to develop the Partnership’s strategy and plans to conduct a series of pilots over the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years to refine the plan before expanding the effort.

Click here to read the full studyresearch brief, and Amarillo report.

Rep. Farney calls TCEE Texas’ PFL Rock Star

TCEE hosted the PFL and Econ Challenge State Plays-offs in the capitol of Texas on Thursday.

Freshman Texas Representative Marsha Farney stood before the PFL state champion students and teachers last Thursday and announced that TCEE is the PFL Rock Star in the State of Texas! She came back and addressed the Econ Challenge students that afternoon and told of the work we have done collaboratively and how she hopes to pass the high school PFL bill next session as a required course for graduation rather than just a required course to be offered by schools.

TCEE President Laura Ewing with Rep. Farney and TCEE Program Director Catherine Rinhart

In 2012, State Board Members Pat Hardy and Marsha Farney and Laura Ewing worked on the idea of TCEE writing the math PFL standards. Cindy Manzano (TCEE Smarter Texas director) and Valerie Johse (TCEE math consultant) headed that project and their work is now in the Texas lawbooks. Beginning in fall 2014, TCEE’s work will impact 3.5 million students annually. Those are some fine stats to illustrate the outreach of TCEE!

As program director, Catherine Rinhart worked tirelessly throughout the year organizing the Econ and PFL Challenges. She set up the competition portals, encouraged teachers to particpate, and planned the state play offs.She worked with Chris Duke of Representative Marsha Farney’s office to organize our event at the capitol building. With the big State Farm and TCEE sign in the hallway outside the meeting room door and the letters sent to the legislative offices two weeks ago telling of the program, TCEE continues to let our legislators know that econ and PFL are live and well in Texas, and that TCEE is a strong force within the state.

Cherry Frye, Office Manager +, organized the millions of papers involved in administering the 9 tests in one day.  Allen Reding, Web Manager by evening/weekend and Economics Teacher by day, wrote the 9 tests. It was a village experience in preparing for and carrying out a strong academic challenge for the state of Texas.

Although there were students from Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and other areas, the three winning teams were from Houston ISD. Bellaire High school’s Michael Clark’s teams won first place in the Adam Smith Econ Challenge and the PFL Challenges. DeBakey High School’s Haley Clark’s teams won first place in the David Ricardo division. The PFL team will go forward to the state play offs at the St. Louis Fed. The Econ challenge winners will take proctored regional play off exams on their campuses. If they are in the top four of the nation, they will go to NYC for the play offs.

And, also in Austin during the playoffs was Cindy Manzano. Her playoffs were family based with the birth of her first grandchild, Aiden Dean Manzano. We are so happy for Cindy and her family! We expect to see him leading the charge on financial literacy education in a few years!

PlainsCapital Bank Partners with TCEE to Train Students

photo (1)

Cindy Manzano, TCEE Smarter Texas PFL DIRECTOR, practices after school financial literacy math strategies with PlainsCapital Bank staff in McAllen.

Cindy Manzano, TCEE Smarter Texas PFL DIRECTOR, practices after school financial literacy math strategies with PlainsCapital Bank staff in McAllen.

Basden & Ivie Host TCEE Board Training

Elizabeth Basden, managing partner of Basden & Ivie law firm, discusses governance models with the TCEE board.

Elizabeth Basden, managing partner of Basden & Ivie law firm, discusses governance models with the TCEE board.


TCEE board training

TCEE board training

photo (1)

photo (2)


Michael Kelley of Basden and Ivie

Michael Kelley of Basden and Ivie

The Texas Council on Economic Education  -  1801 Allen Parkway  -  Houston, Texas 77019

Telephone 713-655-1650  -   Fax: 713-655-1655