First elected to the Texas House in 2018.
In the 2018 election, she 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.
Endorsed in the 2018 primary election by the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle.
Voted for a major school finance and reform bill providing $6.5 billion in increased funding for public education and $5 billion for property tax relief.
House Bill 3 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. On April 3, 2019, the House voted to approve the bill on third reading. (Record vote #159. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.)
Voted for an ATPE-supported educator retirement bill making the TRS pension fund sound by increasing contribution rates and authorizing a one-time 13th check for retirees.
Senate Bill 12 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. On April 25, 2019, the House voted to approve the bill on third reading. (Record vote #661. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.)
Voted for an ATPE-supported school safety bill offering funding to implement school safety improvements and provide mental health resources.
Senate Bill 11 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. On May 22, 2019, the House voted to approve the bill on third reading. (Record vote #1610. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.)
Voted for a floor amendment to Senate Bill 11 requiring the state to identify regional resources that schools can use to address students' mental health needs. The amendment was based on Rep. Allison's HB 4414, a bill supported by ATPE.
House Floor Amendment #8 by Rep. Steve Allison (R-San Antonio) to Senate Bill 11 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. During the House floor debate on this school safety bill, Rep. Allison offered Floor Amendment #8 to improve mental health resources in schools. The amendment passed on May 21, 2019. (Record vote #1579. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.) Procedural note: This amendment was later reconsidered and amended before being adopted by the House again. (Record vote #1600. View an official record of that subsequent vote in the House journal.)
Voted against a bill that would have weakened the 22:1 cap on elementary school class sizes. ATPE opposed the bill.
House Bill 1133 by Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. On May 9, 2019, the House voted to defeat the bill on second reading. (Record vote #1244. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.)
Voted for an ATPE-supported bill that would have funded and strengthened mentoring programs for teachers.
House Bill 102 by Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. On April 9, 2019, the House voted to approve the bill on third reading. (Record vote #197. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.) HB 102 did not get heard by the Senate, but its language was incorporated into HB 3 that did pass and become law.
Voted for a bill to require certain school districts to assign properly certified teachers to students in elementary grades and prevent students from being taught by first-year teachers in consecutive years. HB 1276 would have applied to school districts with at least 5,000 students, unless the district was exempted under the District of Innovation (DOI) law or received a hardship waiver from the commissioner of education. The bill was designed to prevent students from being assigned for two consecutive school years to teachers with less than one year of experience or teachers not certified in the subject being taught as part of the foundation curriculum. Exceptions were provided for new transfer students and students whose parent or guardian consents to the placement. ATPE supported the bill.
House Bill 1276 by Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. On April 25, 2019, the House voted to approve the bill on third reading. (Record vote #746. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.) The bill ultimately died after it did not get heard in the Senate.
Voted for a floor amendment to House Bill 3 to increase the transparency and efficiency of charter schools by requiring them to undergo an audit of their fiscal management prior to expanding or opening new campuses and to share the audit results on their website. ATPE supported the amendment.
House Floor Amendment #15 by Rep. Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd) to House Bill 3 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. During the House floor debate on the school finance bill, Rep. Bailes offered Floor Amendment #15 on charter school transparency and efficiency. The amendment passed on April 3, 2019. (Record vote #153. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.) The Senate later stripped the amendment out of the bill.
Voted against a bill that would prohibit school districts and other local governmental entities from funding legislative advocacy efforts or paying membership dues to organizations that engage in legislative advocacy.
Senate Bill 29 by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), 86th Legislature, Regular Session. On May 20, 2019, the House voted to defeat the bill on third reading. (Record vote #1519. View an official record of the vote in the House journal.)
1. If elected, what will be your top priorities for public education?
During the next Legislative Session, I will fight for the state to continue increasing its share of public education funding while we search for sustainable funding mechanisms to preserve the progress we have made and then build on it. The current 45% share is an improvement from 38%, but it is still unacceptable that we lag behind much of the nation in per-student funding. Our students' mental health care must also be a priority. We need to expand the number of counselors in every district and make sure that they can focus on our children. These education staff are vital to kids' futures and should be fully supported.
2. What are your recommendations for funding public education, including securing the necessary revenue to sustain the improvements made by House Bill 3 in 2019? Do you believe additional funding is needed?
I was proud to co-author House Bill 3 last session because it transformed our school finance system, finally gave our teachers and support staff a much-needed pay raise, and delivered property tax relief to Texas families. After HB 3, the state's share of public education funding increased from 38% to 45%. My first priority is protecting the gains we made last Session, but the increase in funding simply does not go far enough. I will continue fighting to bring more resources into our classrooms and to our teachers and school staff.
3. How would you address the challenge of rising healthcare costs facing Texas educators and ensure that active and retired educators have access to affordable healthcare?
The state should increase its funding for TRS-Care and TRS-ActiveCare. Our educators simply cannot direct their attention to teaching, if they are worrying about how they will pay for their or their families' skyrocketing healthcare costs. During the next Session, I will push for an increase in the state's TRS healthcare contribution.
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?
After teachers and support staff dedicate their careers to our children, we owe them peace of mind and a secure retirement. For these reasons, I support maintaining a defined benefit plan, where retired teachers do not have to worry about a system that fails to guarantee them the benefits they worked so hard for.
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.?
Standardized testing should not play an outsized role in measuring the student's progress or the teacher. Each child is different and a teacher's performance cannot be solely measured on the learning style and pace of individual students.
6. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?
Children in every school district deserve to learn from committed, qualified educators. Individual student performance should not dictate teacher compensation.
7. 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?
I will not support a voucher program in any shape or form.
8. 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?
Texas teachers should be allowed to continue exercising this right. They should also be allowed to bargain for higher wages, better working conditions, and the benefits they are owed. This right should not be obstructed by laws aimed to stifle their ability to negotiate for these rights.
9. What role, if any, should charter schools have in the public education system, and do you feel the number of charter schools operating in Texas should be reduced or expanded?
I am opposed to any efforts privatizing public education.
10. Recent legislation has made it possible for school districts to exempt themselves from many state laws (e.g., class-size limits, requirements for hiring certified teachers, minimum salary schedules, school calendar restrictions, etc.) by partnering with outside entities, allowing campuses to be managed by a charter school operator, or becoming part of a District of Innovation, for example. Do you agree with this type of deregulation of public schools, and how should such non-traditional schools be governed?
No, every school in Texas that is receiving public funds should be subject to the same rigorous accountability standards.
No additional comments
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A NONPARTISAN VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS