user avatar
Cathy McAuliffe
Texas House District 32



Retired Professor



Additional Information

Candidate Survey Responses


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

Developmentally appropriate early childhood education, including developmentally appropriate assessment (rather than testing). Teacher pay. Better teacher education at the university level so that prospective teachers understand DEVELOPMENT as the basis for education practices.

2. Voucher programs take many forms (tax credits, scholarships, education savings accounts, etc.) and are either universal or aimed at specific subpopulations (special education students, low-income students, students attending schools with poor A-F accountability ratings, etc.). Would you vote to create a voucher program of any type to pay for students to attend non-public K-12 schools, such as private or home schools?

No. I will vote against vouchers. The Texas Constitution makes it clear that it is the state's responsibility to provide public education to our children. We need to improve our public schools and vouchers would negatively impact many districts.

3. In 2023, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3 requiring a number of new school safety measures. However, many believe the Legislature did not adequately increase funding to cover the cost of the mandates in HB 3 or other locally adopted school safety measures. How would you work to make schools safer and ensure such initiatives are properly funded?

I will advocate for a comprehensive approach that involves collaborative efforts between state and local authorities, as well as community stakeholders. Most importantly, I would engage in open dialogue with all stakeholders including legislators, educators, parents, and law enforcement to determine the specific needs of schools and identify areas where funding gaps exist. I will work towards securing additional state funding dedicated to implementing the mandated measures in HB 3 and supporting locally adopted safety initiatives. Partnerships with private organizations, leveraging federal grants, and prioritizing budget allocations for school safety within the overall education budget will be essential to ensure sustainable funding for these critical initiatives.

4. Despite a record-breaking surplus of $38 billion during the 2023 legislative session, school funding formulas were not increased to keep pace with inflation since they were last adjusted in 2019. Do you believe Texas public schools should receive additional funding? If so, how should the state pay for it?

Yes, Texas public schools should receive additional funding. We need to take a critical look at the state budget. Where can it be tweaked to fund schools at a higher level? School districts in Texas rely on local property taxes for funding and this might not be the best source of income. I will explore options to adjust or reform the property tax system that could be considered to ensure a fair and sustainable revenue stream for public schools. Ultimately, any decision on how to pay for additional funding for public schools in Texas would involve careful consideration of the state's budgetary constraints, public opinion, and the broader economic context. It may also require collaboration among policymakers, educators, and the community to develop a comprehensive and sustainable funding strategy.

5. Texas has faced growing teacher shortages in recent years, with many schools hiring uncertified teachers to fill the gaps. How would you work to ensure Texas public schools have an adequate number of trained and certified teachers?

We need to trust teachers to do their jobs without micromanaging them. Teachers who love to teach are frustrated and demoralized by current events in the state of Texas. They were already upset about the constant prepping for standardized testing, which took away from real teaching. I will work toward increased funding for teacher education programs, but we also need to offer incentives such as competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain qualified educators. Additionally, implementing policies to reduce barriers for individuals seeking a career in teaching and addressing systemic issues affecting teacher retention would be essential.

6. Inadequate compensation hampers the recruitment and retention of high-quality educators. Do you support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas educators?


7. The high cost of health insurance available to educators is a significant factor decreasing their take-home pay. How would you address the challenge of rising health care costs facing Texas educators and ensure access to affordable health care?

My big dream is universal health care, but until that happens we simply need to provide teachers with low-cost but top-tier health insurance, including dental and vision insurance. I believe that implementing preventive health programs to reduce overall healthcare expenses is a good idea. And then we would need to motivate teachers to get involved in those preventative health programs. Collaboration between the education sector and the healthcare industry is also an idea I will explore.

8. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in the Texas public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used as a metric in determining teacher pay, school accountability ratings, evaluating teachers, measuring student progress, etc.?

Standardized testing has taken over the education system, and the only ones who benefit from this are the companies that provide the tests. It's a moneymaker. Teachers are taught how to assess their students' learning. We need to trust teachers and let them do their jobs. So the answer is no; we should not use test scores for the purposes listed above.

9. In your opinion, what is the proper balance between accommodating an individual parent’s or student’s wishes and the taxpaying community’s interest in directing and maintaining an optimal educational environment for the student population as a whole?

Unfortunately, we have an epidemic of parents showing their disrespect for their children's teachers, and the children pick up on this and take that attitude and that behavior to school with them. Again teachers are taught how to develop relationships with parents/families and how to respond to them individually. Of course, how the Administration handles crises is also important. Parents/families need to trust that the school administration will respond appropriately to issues. The proper balance involves considering both individual preferences and the broader community needs. It requires thoughtful decision-making that prioritizes the collective well-being of the student population while acknowledging the importance of individual concerns. It is, in fact, a balancing act.

10. 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 structure that is more like a 401(k) plan, in which future benefits are not guaranteed?

Maintained as a traditional defined-benefit pension plan. With strong support from the Texas AFT.

11. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations such as ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees continue to exercise this right?

I support this.

Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey

No additional comments