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Cody J. Grace
Texas House District 6





Technology Consultant


PO Box 9492, Tyler, TX, 75711

Additional Information

Ran unsuccessfully for House District 6 in 2022.

Candidate Survey Responses


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

If elected, my focus for public education in East Texas will center on securing equitable funding and providing robust support for teachers. I'll work towards increasing state funding to ensure all schools, especially in rural and underserved areas, have the resources they need for quality education. This includes addressing funding disparities between districts. A key priority will be enhancing teacher support through competitive salaries and benefits, along with opportunities for professional development, to attract and retain top educators. Additionally, I am committed to strengthening early childhood and special education programs to ensure every child, regardless of background or abilities, has access to essential educational resources from the start. These efforts aim to create a more equitable and effective public education system for all students in Texas.

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?

I do not support the creation of voucher programs for non-public K-12 education, such as private or homeschooling. I believe public funds should be dedicated to strengthening our public schools, which serve the majority of students. Voucher programs can divert crucial resources from public education, potentially undermining the quality and accessibility of education in our community, especially for those in underserved and rural areas. My commitment is to invest in our public schools, improving infrastructure, increasing teacher salaries, and enhancing educational resources, to ensure an equitable and high-quality education for all public school students.

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?

Recognizing that the mandates in HB 3 have not been adequately funded, I would work towards securing the necessary financial resources to effectively implement these safety measures. This would involve advocating for increased state funding specifically earmarked for school safety initiatives. I believe in a collaborative approach, working with school districts, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community members to develop comprehensive safety plans that address both physical security and mental health support. Additionally, I would push for legislation that provides schools with flexible funding options to meet their unique safety needs. Ensuring that these initiatives are not only implemented but also sustainably funded is crucial. My commitment is to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students and staff in Texas schools.

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?

I strongly advocate for increased funding for Texas public schools, especially in light of the state's $38 billion surplus and the failure to adjust school funding for inflation since 2019. The surplus presents a direct opportunity to allocate significant funds towards education. Additionally, I propose a reassessment of state tax policies, including property and corporate tax structures, to create a more sustainable and equitable revenue stream for education. Exploring public-private partnerships and efficient use of existing funds can further bolster school budgets. This approach not only ensures that our schools are adequately funded but also reflects our commitment to investing in the future of Texas by providing quality education for all students.

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?

To address the growing teacher shortage in Texas, I propose increasing teacher salaries and benefits to make the profession more financially appealing and sustainable. This includes implementing robust support and professional development programs for teachers to enhance job satisfaction and retention. I also advocate for expanding alternative certification programs, offering flexible yet rigorous paths to teaching, especially in high-need areas. Additionally, targeted incentives like loan forgiveness or tuition assistance for those teaching in underserved regions or in-demand subjects can help attract and retain qualified educators. These combined efforts will ensure that Texas public schools are staffed with trained and certified teachers, maintaining high educational standards across the state.

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?

I strongly support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas educators. Adequate compensation is essential for the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers. An across-the-board pay raise would not only acknowledge the invaluable role teachers play in our society but also help make the profession more attractive to both current educators and prospective candidates. By investing in our educators through fair and competitive salaries, we are directly investing in the quality of education for all students across Texas. This commitment to educators is a fundamental step in addressing the challenges facing our education system and ensuring that every child in Texas has access to highly qualified and motivated teachers.

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?

To address the rising healthcare costs for Texas educators, I advocate for enhancing the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) health insurance plan, including increasing state funding to lower premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. I propose legislative actions to negotiate more affordable healthcare rates, leveraging the large group of educators, and exploring local healthcare partnerships for discounted services. Additionally, I support initiatives to improve educators' access to and awareness of state and federal healthcare subsidies and programs. These measures aim to reduce the financial burden of healthcare on educators, making the teaching profession in Texas more sustainable and attractive.

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 should serve as one component in a broader assessment framework within Texas public education. These tests can provide useful insights into student learning and areas needing support, but they shouldn't dominate teacher evaluations, determine teacher pay, or be the sole basis for school accountability ratings. A more comprehensive approach to assessment is needed, one that includes a variety of student learning metrics like classroom performance, projects, and teacher assessments. Teacher evaluations should reflect an overall review of their performance, not just test scores. Similarly, school accountability should encompass factors like student growth, engagement, and school climate, ensuring a well-rounded and fair evaluation system that acknowledges the diverse capabilities of students and the multifaceted responsibilities of educators.

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?

I believe balancing individual preferences with the community's educational interests is crucial. Parents and students should have a say in their educational journey, with choices in courses and activities tailored to their needs. However, these individual choices must align with maintaining an equitable, high-quality public education system for all. Core educational standards and policies should reflect the collective good, ensuring a comprehensive education for the broader student population. This balance requires active community engagement, transparent decision-making, and open communication among educators, parents, students, and taxpayers, fostering a system that meets both individual aspirations and the community's educational goals.

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?

I am committed to preserving the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) as a traditional defined-benefit pension plan for all educators, whether future, current, or retired. This system provides educators with a secure, predictable retirement income, reflecting the value we place on their lifelong dedication to teaching. Shifting to a defined-contribution plan like a 401(k) would transfer financial risks to individual educators, undermining the stability and security they deserve after years of service. Maintaining the defined-benefit structure is crucial in attracting and retaining quality educators, honoring their contributions, and ensuring they have a reliable and dignified retirement.

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 fully support allowing educators and other public employees to continue having the right to voluntarily join professional associations like ATPE and have their membership dues deducted from their paychecks. This practice, which incurs no cost to taxpayers, is a fundamental aspect of workers' rights and freedom of association. It allows educators and public employees to effectively engage with organizations that advocate for their professional interests, provide valuable resources, and offer support in their careers. Maintaining this right is crucial for empowering our public workforce, ensuring they have a voice in their professions, and fostering a collaborative environment where educators and public employees can contribute to the betterment of their fields and, ultimately, our communities.

Did not respond to the 2022 ATPE Candidate Survey.

Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey

No additional comments