Tag Archives: Marty Rowley

Texas election roundup: Big shakeup at SBOE

Last week, outgoing State Board of Education (SBOE) chair Donna Bahorich (R-Houston) announced her plans to retire from the board. Following her announcement, a number of her Republican colleagues have also indicated plans to retire.

Donna Bahorich and Marty Rowley were photographed at a recent SBOE meeting. Both SBOE members have recently announced plans to retire from the board.

Member Marty Rowley (R-Amarillo) announced his plan to retire at the end of his current term, which expires in Jan. 2021. Rowley’s district is reliably Republican and covers much of West Texas. Past board chair Barbara Cargill (R-The Woodlands) and Member Ken Mercer (R-San Antonio) have also announced plans to retire. Mercer’s district has shifted from a majority Republican district to one that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrat Beto O’Rourke carried Mercer’s district in 2018 with more than ten percent of the vote.

Candidates in this fall’s three special elections filed their 30-day-out campaign finance reports this week. As we expected, the House District (HD) 28 special election in Fort Bend County has drawn a significant amount of attention, where seven candidates are vying to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. John Zerwas. The lone Democrat in the race, educator Dr. Eliz Markowitz, reported raising $62,000, spending $16,000, and entering the final stretch with $38,000 cash on hand. Markowitz also received the endorsement of the pro-public education group Texas Parent PAC this week. Republican neurosurgeon Dr. Anna Allred reported raising $159,000 during the reporting period, which is more than the other five Republicans in the HD 28 race combined. Allred has also retained Republican consultant Allen Blakemore, whose top client is Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Allred has spent $142,000 and heads into the final stretch with $86,000 on hand.

In addition to the HD 28 special election, the Nov. 5 election will give all Texas voters the chance to vote on 10 proposed constitutional amendments. The Texas League of Women Voters has put out a comprehensive guide to the proposals, which you can view here. You can also find additional election resources at the website for the Texas Educators Vote coalition. We’ll be posting additional resources to help you prepare for the constitutional election here on ATPE’s Teach the Vote blog next week, so be sure to check it out before you head to the polls. Early voting begins Oct. 21.

SBOE asks commissioner for accountability relief during implementation of new math curriculum standards

The State Board of Education (SBOE) is concerned that the implementation of new curriculum standards for mathematics this year may cause unintended headaches for some schools, educators, and students, and several board members are hoping the commissioner of education will offer assistance.

The board revised the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for math in grades 3-8 in 2012, and those new TEKS are being implemented in schools this year. Some SBOE members fear negative consequences for students, teachers, and schools that have not yet had sufficient time for professional development, incorporating new instructional materials aligned with the TEKS, and adjusting to the new standards, which in some cases require skills to be taught at different grade levels than they were under the prior math standards.

Today, 14 members of the board wrote a letter to Commissioner of Education Michael Williams asking him to consider a temporary “hold harmless” provision in state accountability requirements for campuses and school districts during the initial implementation period. They also asked for additional support from the Texas Education Agency through professional development resources. Board members stated in the letter, “We believe our math standards are important and worth supporting without the counterproductive pressure for students and teachers during the transition.”

The SBOE met for several days this week to swear in newly elected members, appoint board members to serve on particular committees, and elect officers. The board re-elected Thomas Ratliff as its vice-chair and tapped Ruben Cortez to serve as board secretary. (The chairman of the board, Barbara Cargill, is selected by the governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate.) Sue Melton-Malone, who is also a former state president of ATPE, was elected by her fellow members to chair the SBOE’s Committee on Instruction, for which she previously served as vice-chair. SBOE member Patricia “Pat” Hardy will continue in her role as chair of the Committee on School Finance and the Permanent School Fund. Board members also elected Marty Rowley to serve as chair of the Committee on School Initiatives, with Martha Dominguez as his vice-chair. ATPE congratulates all the newly elected members and officers.