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Andy Morris
Texas Senate District 10






Additional Information

Previously ran unsuccessfully for House District 64 in 2018.

Endorsed in the 2018 Democratic primary runoff election for House District 64 by the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News.

In his 2018 House race, he was recommended favorably by Texans for Public Education, a grassroots educators' group that researched and rated candidates in the 2018 election based on their stances toward public schools.

Candidate Survey Responses



1. If elected, what will your top priorities for public education be?

My top priority for public education will be reforming how we fund our public education system. This issue has persisted through too many legislative sessions and continues to limit the opportunities for all our students, particularly when what little funding remains is siphoned off for the ill-advised attempt to introduce school vouchers into Texas. My other two priorities include reforming the assessment/testing system to allow teachers the freedom they need to personalize their teaching methods to improve student outcomes, and investing in infrastructure - ensuring that all school districts are able to teach classes in well-equipped and well-maintained buildings. This also includes investing in teachers: educating, training, and paying teachers well is as important as ensuring the buildings and materials they use are the best they can be.


2. Is there a need to increase state funding to meet the needs of our student population? If so, how would you recommend securing more revenue for public education?

As highlighted above, financing public education will be my most important priority. As per-student funding falls, I see a clear need to increase state funding to meet the needs of our student population. There are numerous potential revenue sources available to avenues to increase funding for our public education systems, including: - restructuring sales or consumption taxes - dividing up current tax revenues to be more equitable towards education - reversing corporate tax breaks/cuts - increasing taxes on the wealthiest, - raising taxes on products such as tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana - reforming, expanding, and funding the Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction, to allow more districts to qualify. As Colorado in particular has proven, legalizing marijuana and using the tax proceeds to invest more in our education systems can work. It's a conversation we must be brave enough to have, and it's a conversation I'm willing to have in Austin.


3. Healthcare costs for educators have increased dramatically and outpaced the state's contributions, with many current and retired educators now paying more out of pocket than their counterparts in other states or in other professions. As a legislator, how would you address this crisis to ensure that active and retired educators have access to affordable healthcare?

Healthcare costs remain a concern for too many Texans, especially those working in education. We must reduce out-of-pocket expenses, and that starts by evaluating and changing the healthcare plans offered to educators, retirees, and other public education employees. Legislators can negotiate with healthcare and health insurance providers for further discounts or cost reductions, advocate for expanding the Affordable Care Act, and working towards state-based healthcare solutions that reduce both overall costs and out-of-pocket expenses.


4. Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan for all future, current, and retired educators, or do you support converting TRS to a defined contribution plan that is more like a 401(k) plan, in which future benefits are not guaranteed?

As a member of the Teacher Retirement System, I believe TRS must be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan for all future, current, and retired educators. TRS plays an important role in ensuring our educators have security in their retirement. A 401(k) plan does not provide that security, and would not be an avenue I would explore as a legislator. TRS is a distinct carrot to attract teachers to the profession, so must be maintained and protected.


5. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in Texas's public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used for school accountability purposes, for evaluating teachers, for measuring student progress, etc.?

I recently got involved with the Transparency in Testing Facebook group, and I would advocate for a bill that helps quantify the costs associated with standardized testing. When testing costs run as high as $13 billion, it is fiscally conservative as well as budget-sensitive to ensure we spend effectively and achieve intended outcomes. Student test scores should be used as part of a holistic process in evaluating student progress, teacher effectiveness, and school district accountability. In my view, however, I think that standardized testing is not the most effective tool to measure student outcomes, and more conversations should be had with educators, school board members, students, and parents to find the best way of assessing student learning.


6. Would you support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas classroom teachers?

Absolutely. Teachers are grossly underpaid for the work that they put in, so any bill I can vote on that improves teacher pay I would be in full support. Texas teachers are among some of the most underpaid professional workers in any industry, so it is time that their salaries reflected the key role they have in teaching and raising the next generation.


7. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?

Student performance should be A factor in determining teacher pay, but not the SOLE factor. Teachers can only be as successful as the students who want to learn, and in many situations it should be how teachers turn potential into excellence that should drive teacher pay. Other factors, such as the socio-economic make-up of districts and the role of parents, should be considered when setting teacher pay.


8. Would you vote to create any type of voucher, tax credit, scholarship, education savings account, or other program aimed at paying for students, including any subpopulation of students, to attend non-public K-12 schools, such as private or home schools?

No. Public education is the best option to educate our students, and no money should be removed from the public system. This is a hard line I would maintain, as any proposal that provides incentives parents to remove students from the public education system, ultimately weakens the institution of public education.


9. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations like ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees use payroll deduction for their membership dues?

I would support allowing all public employees to use payroll deductions for their membership dues. Not only will this help reduce their taxable income, but it would make being a part of a union more straight forward. Strong unions built the middle class, and we have seen with the erosion of unions how the middle class has declined. Allowing public employees to use payroll deductions for their membership dues will promote unions and make collective bargaining easier, and allow teachers and other public employees a louder voice in the concerns they all share.


10. Current law allows school districts with accountability ratings of "C" or better to become Districts of Innovation (DOIs) and exempt themselves from many state statutes, such as elementary school class-size limits, requirements for hiring certified teachers, and more. Would you recommend any changes to the criteria for becoming a DOI? Would you place any limitations on the state laws that can be waived by DOIs?

Districts of Innovation are an important part of our education system. They allow districts to implement new policies and procedures that can help students. While this may be true, however, I have concerns that some school districts could manipulate this designation to avoid certain responsibilities, thus harming student outcomes. I would recommend changes to DOI criteria, and would advocate for certain limitations on the state laws that can be waived - for instance, elementary school class-size limits: the lower the teacher-to-student ratio, the better student outcomes often are - especially that this young and impressionable age.

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